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The Gray Lectures 

Winter 1965 

The Lecturers 

Father Godfrey L. Diekmann, O.S.B., monk of Saint John's Abbey 
( Collegeville, Minnesota), is Professor of Patrology and Church History 
in the Major Seminary, Saint John's University, and lecturer, teacher, 
and retreat master during summer months. After his own college study 
at Saint John's, he earned the Doctorate of Sacred Theology in Rome, 
and pursued further graduate studies in liturgy at the Abbey of Maria 
Laach, Germany. A noted liturgiologist, he has been editor of the 
liturgical journal Worship since 1938, and is the author of Come, Let 
Us Worship and contributor of articles to scholarly journals and the 
Encyclopaedia Britannica. Father Diekmann has been a leading American 
representative at the International Pastoral Liturgical Congress at Assisi 
in 1956, and in six International Study Meetings. He is Vice President 
of the National Liturgical Conference. As Consultor of the Pontifical 
Liturgical Commission preparing for the Second Vatican Council, and 
presently Consultor of the Post-Conciliar Liturgical Commission, he is 
eminently qualified to interpret the Second Vatican Council. 

Dean Robert E. Cushman of the Divinity School of Duke Univer- 
sity has represented The Methodist Church as a Protestant Observer at 
1963 and 1964 sessions of the Second Vatican Council. A graduate of 
Wesleyan University (Connecticut) and of Yale University (B.D., 
Ph.D.), he served pastorates in Connecticut and New York and taught 
at Yale Divinity School and the University of Oregon before coming 
to Duke as Professor of Systematic Theology in 1945. Dr. Cushman is 
author of Therapeia: Plato's Conception of Philosophy, of chapters in 
several theological books (including recent works on Worship in Scrip- 
ture and Tradition and The Doctrine of the Church), and of numerous 
journal articles (including recent articles on the Second Vatican Council). 
He was a Methodist delegate to the World Conference on Faith and Order 
in Lund (1952) and again in Montreal (1963). He is a permanent mem- 
ber of the North American Commission on Worship for the World 
Council of Churches. He has lectured in theological schools and Method- 
ist Pastors' Schools throughout the nation, and in the Second Oxford 
Institute on Methodist Theological Studies, 1962. He was a delegate to 
the 1964 Methodist General Conference. As a leading ecumenical Method- 
ist theologian, he is especially prepared to share with Father Diekmann 
in the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council. 



The James A. Gray Lectures 


"The Second Vatican Council" 


Father Godfrey L. Diekmann, O.S.B. 


Dean Robert E. Cushman 

Volume 30 Winter 1965 Number 1 


Prolegomena to the Gray Lectures 5 

by James T. Cleland 

I. The Council and the Liturgical Renewal 9 

by Godfrey L. Diekmann 

II. The Nature of the Church and Its Government 21 

by Godfrey L. Diekmann 

III. The Apostolate of the Laity 33 

by Godfrey L. Diekmann 

IV. A Protestant Report 43 

by Robert E. Cushman 

V. Prospects of Ecumenism 59 

by Robert E. Cushman 

Appendix : Discourse to the Observers 75 

by Pope Paul VI 

Vatican Council Bibliography 77 

compiled by Harriet V. Leonard 

A Prayer for Christian Unity inside back cover 

Published three times a year (Winter, Spring, Autumn) 

by the Divinity School of Duke University 

in continuation of The Duke Divinity School Bulletin 

Postage paid at Durham, North Carolina 

Prolegomena to the Gray 
Lectures (1964) 

The Gray Lectureship at the Divinity School of Duke University 
is one outcome of a fund which was presented to the Divinity School 
in 1946 by the late James A. Gray, business man and philanthropist 
of Winston-Salem, as part of the Methodist College Advance of 
the two North Carolina conferences of The Methodist Church. The 
purpose of the fund is to expand and maintain the educational ser- 
vices of the Divinity School "in behalf of the North Carolina churches 
and pastors." In partial fulfillment of this intent, the Gray Lecture- 
ship was established. 

The Lectures, ordinarily four in number, have been delivered 
annually by an invited lecturer since 1950. The speakers have come 
from various Protestant denominations, from the parish and aca- 
demic ministries, from varied fields of special interest. They have 
usually spoken during the Christian Convocation and North Carolina 
Pastors' School, of recent years held in late October. Most of the 
Gray Lectures have appeared in print. 

More than once a question has been asked informally and desul- 
torily, yet seriously, among the Divinity School faculty : "Is it time 
to invite a Roman Catholic scholar to deliver the Gray Lectures?" 
The negative answer was almost always posited on the assumption, 
valid or otherwise, that our clientele was not ready for it. Then, in 
the economy of God, Pope John XXIII sat down on Peter's chair, 
with a homey, humble, effective, original authority which startled 
and delighted both the Christian churches and the secular world. 
If ecumenical Protestantism ever decides to canonize anyone, Angelo 
Giuseppe Roncalli has a legitimate claim to be its first Saint, honoris 
causa. He was the unwitting prime mover in the preparation for the 
1964 Gray Lectures. 

The Gray Lectures Committee wisely decided to make Dean 
Cushman, Methodist observer at the Second Vatican Council, its 
agent in the search for a Roman Catholic speaker. He cooperated 
with vigor, wisdom, and effectiveness. Only twice did he waver, 
once when from Rome he suggested that the matter be postponed 
until a later date. But the committee, led by Professors Clark and 
Lacy, was unanimous in declining to be influenced by the Dean's cold 

feet. To his credit, his feet warmed up of their own accord before the 
committee's courteous, but adamant, refusal reached him. So the 
hunt was on for a man : a scholar, a communicator, an ecumenist, a 
Christian. While in Rome, Dean Cushman had become friends with 
Father Godfrey L. Diekmann, O.S.B., of Saint John's Abbey in 
Minnesota. He is a leading liturgist in Roman Catholic circles in 
the U.S.A., a man of winsome, yet strong, personality, and one who 
loves his separated brethren. He had all kinds of legitimate reasons 
for declining our invitation to be the Gray Lecturer — work, health, 
weariness. But he accepted. In October, he came ; he was seen ; he 

There is one more preliminary fact to be added. The committee 
had decided that there should be two Gray Lecturers in 1964: one 
a Roman Catholic, the other a distinguished Protestant, who should 
be our own Dean. He demurred. But the committee was deaf, with 
the deafness of those who will not hear. This was our second refusal 
to accept his hesitancy. He was drafted. If pride were not a sin, 
we could say : "He did us proud." 

It was somewhat breathlessly that we awaited the October event. 
What amazed us was the participation of our separated Roman Cath- 
olic brethren, priests and nuns, in surprising numbers, so con- 
spicuous because of their habits. If there was any brooding Protestant 
sullenness, it was submerged by excitement, anticipation, and good- 
will. The speakers were heard with attention, surprise, and en- 
thusiasm. The question period was sometimes penetrating, always 
interesting, and never unseemly. Folk wanted the truth ; they heard 
it spoken, in love. The resultant mail has been laudatory and grateful. 

Father Diekmann must needs return to the campus. Our admira- 
tion of him is penetrated with affection. We listened spellbound to 
his erudition and his capacity to make us understand what he was 
elucidating — what a teacher ! We gave ear — enthralled with his 
humor, his sensitive appreciation of Protestantism, his gentle criti- 
cism of both branches of the Church. One puzzled listener told me 
that he could not understand how Father Diekmann could remain a 
Roman Catholic. You should have heard the roar of glorious laughter 
when I relayed that tidbit to our guest. (Of course, he and I had 
one common ground : we both smoke pipes stuffed with "Revelation." 
We chatted in an atmosphere of holy smoke.) Like you who sat at 
his feet, I long for another opportunity of being with this great and 
good man of God. 

Dean Cushman made us hold up our heads as Protestants. Once 
again, he caused some of us to regret that he has to be an academic 

Solomon, building institutional temples. We need him as a theologian, 
full-time, in the classroom, as advisor to the Council of Bishops, as 
the author of the books which he carries so uncomfortably in petto. 
Why is a teacher of proven renown and of even greater promise 
metamorphosed into a Dean? Probably God knows, but He hasn't 
told us. Yet, in God's providence, Dean Cushman is giving our 
Divinity School a valid reputation and a fair name, the like of which 
it never had before. We, his colleagues, and you, who are alumni, 
bask in the warmth and light of his reflected glory. Duke is known, 
nationally and internationally, primarily because of him. He was at 
his worthy best as a Gray Lecturer. 

How does one tell a great moment in history? Only years after? 
It seems likely that the Convocation of 1964 will be such a moment. 
It was evidenced and symbolized primarily in the Chapel services 
held in conjunction with the Gray Lectures. To see Protestants 
and Roman Catholics worshipping together, singing the same hymns, 
saying "Amen" to the same prayers, cooperating quietly with the 
Divinity School Choir in the anthems, and listening to the Word of 
God expounded by a Negro Baptist from the South, Dr. Samuel 
Proctor, was a rare and blessed diet of corporate worship. We could 
not but recall the lines of Wordsworth : 

The holy time is quiet as a nun 
Breathless with adoration. 

This interracial, interdenominational, interfaith worship was climaxed 
at the last service as we affirmed our one, holy, Catholic faith in the 
words of the Apostles' Creed. The Duke Chapel was Bethel — 
none other but the house of God and the gate of heaven. 

So here are the lectures to recall to your remembrance the hal- 
lowed occasion. It seemed wiser to give them to you now as a spe- 
cial edition of The Duke Divinity School Review than to wait 
a year for their printing by a publishing house. This issue is a souvenir 
of an astonishing event. 

James T. Cleland 


The James A. Gray Lectures 

I. The Council and the 
Liturgical Renewal 

Godfrey L. Diekmann 

Dear Brothers in Christ and in the Christian Ministry : 

Before all else, I must express my humble gratitude to the several 
sponsoring bodies, to Duke University, to its School of Divinity, 
and to its Dean, Dr. Robert Cushman, whom I have learned during 
the second session of Vatican Council II not only to esteem as a 
scholar but to value as a friend, for the privilege of addressing you. 
Though deeply appreciative of the singular academic distinction 
associated with being selected as a James A. Gray lecturer, I must 
also, in all honesty, confess that, as a Catholic priest who thanks 
God each day for good Pope John XXIII and the new era of ecu- 
menical involvement which he opened up for us of the Roman 
Catholic faith, I accepted Dean Cushman's invitation with eagerness, 
because of the opportunity it offers of contributing in whatever 
small degree to the furtherance of the Christian dialogue. My eager- 
ness, however, was tempered with salutary trepidation. In terms of 
true theological dialogue with my brethren of other Christian 
Churches, I am, as it were, an infant learning to speak or, rather, 
like one advanced in years painfully learning a foreign tongue and not 
quite certain that he uses it rightly. If, therefore, in the course of 
my lectures, anything I say may wound sensibilities or prove in any 
way unwittingly offensive, I hereby unreservedly apologize in ad- 

As to my general approach to the topics assigned me : In the past 
two years I have lectured to many and often quite large audiences 
of Catholic priests in various parts of the country about Vatican 
Council II. I decided, therefore, rightly or wrongly — you will have 
to be the judges — to speak to you as if I were addressing them: 
i.e., to express, as honestly and forthrightly as I possibly can, my 
views of the significance of what is happening at the Council. You 
are therefore, for the time being, in a role similar to that of the 
Protestant observers at the Council : sympathetic witnesses to the 
wrestling with the angel of the Lord that your Catholic brethren 
are presently engaged in. 

When the Liturgical Commission preparing for Vatican Council 


II had concluded its work of drafting the document which, sub- 
stantially, is identical with the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy 
officially promulgated December 4, 1963, the Jesuit Fr. Josef Jung- 
mann, perhaps our most famous liturgy scholar, declared : "If the 
Council accepts this statement, I shall be happy to sing my Nunc 
Dimittis — Now Thou dost dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace." 
For at that time there was no conceivable way of foretelling the cli- 
mate of the Council. As a matter of fact, the weather signs were 
rather stormy. Yet after a lengthy discussion on the Council floor 
that lasted the better part of the entire Session I in 1962, the changes 
that were introduced into the document were all "liberalizing" rather 
than restrictive. The final vote was Yes 2147, and No 4. (Inci- 
dentally, it became a popular guessing game in Rome to discover the 
identity of the four. I think I know at least two.) 

That vote constituted the official stamp of approval on the so- 
called Liturgical Movement or Renewal in the Catholic Church. It 
is obviously impossible, in the framework of this lecture, to detail 
the adventurous history of this movement. Many of you, doubtless, 
are at least in a general manner aware of its early scholarly and 
monastic origins, associated largely with the restoration of Gregorian 
Chant, the Abbey of Solesmes in France, and the person of Abbot 
Gueranger, in the second half of the nineteenth century. The pastoral 
dimension of the movement began to come to the fore through a 
famous speech of Dom Lambert Beauduin at the Belgian National 
Catholic Congress in 1909. At that time, however, liturgy was still 
so universally regarded as mere ritual, ceremonious embroidery of 
the sacramental actions, in other words, as romantic aestheticism 
of no intrinsic significance and really quite irrelevant to the es- 
sentials of Christian life and spirituality, that Dom Beauduin's 
speech was assigned to the Congress's section on "Art and Archeol- 
ogy." And it must further be admitted that, despite the substantial 
progress of the pastoral impact of the liturgical renewal, especially in 
Austria and Germany in the '20's, in the U.S. beginning with 1926, 
the year the liturgical magazine Orate Fratres was launched, and in 
France more particularly since World War II, an unprejudiced ob- 
server of the scene at the outset of Vatican Council II from the evi- 
dence at hand would have had to conclude that, in the minds of most 
Catholics, including many members of the hierarchy, liturgy was 
still classified in the category of "Art and Archeology." 

But, God be thanked, appearances were deceiving. Or perhaps 
the New Pentecost prayed for by Pope John in convoking the Council 
was already commencing, and the fresh air was beginning to circulate 


through the newly opened windows. In any event, the Schema on 
the Liturgy, though originally slated as seventh on the list of the 
Council's agenda, was moved up to first place for discussion, precisely 
because, as the result of the grass-roots development and maturing 
of the liturgical movement of the previous fifty years, the Schema em- 
bodied most satisfactorily that pastoral and biblical approach and 
emphasis which the Council had set as its goal. 

And thus it happened, by accident if you will, that, after a lengthy 
and often heated discussion of the proposed Liturgy Schema, the 
Council on December 4, 1963, promulgated the approved Constitution 
on the Sacred Liturgy as the first major plank in its over-all pro- 
gram of the Church's self-reform and spiritual renewal. But already 
it is becoming evident that this Constitution is immeasurably more 
than a first plank : it is nothing less than the documentary foundation 
of the Catholic Church's program of spiritual rejuvenation, antici- 
pating many of the concerns of subsequent Schemata — and doing so 
in proper and best context : for it views the Church, not primarily 
as an institution, but as the Ecclesia, the people of God, the body of 
Christ as a worshipping community. Some of the Protestant observers 
at the Council, indeed, have expressed the judgment that even if the 
Council does nothing else, the promulgation of the Liturgy Consti- 
tution would suffice to rank it among the major events in the history 
of the Roman Church, and perhaps of Christianity. And if I may 
be permitted to append a personal footnote : I am convinced that, 
after the inspired word of Holy Scripture, there has appeared no writ- 
ing of an official public character in the entire history of the Catholic 
Church which is the peer of this document in containing the poten- 
tialities of spiritual revitalization. It is the Magna Carta of the Cath- 
olic Church's hoped-for second spring. And it is such because, above 
all else, it represents a deliberate return to the sources, to the fresh 
waters of the saving paschal mystery of Christ, His death and resur- 

Any attempt on my part even to summarize the contents of the 
Constitution would necessarily be superficial. I dare to suggest, 
therefore, that for its ecumenical import, if for no other reason, you 
somehow find the time to study this document if you have not yet done 
so. For therein you will find what the Catholic Church has freshly 
realized to be her intimate nature, what therefore she ought to be, 
what she consciously and prayerfully hopes to be in the years ahead 
more faithfully than in the past : "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, 
a holy nation, God's own people, to declare His wonderful deeds" 
(1 Peter 2:9). 


No doubt future historians will evaluate the Liturgy Constitution 
more objectively than it is now possible for us to do. But I would like 
to treat today, in some depth, of one of its features which both for us 
Catholics and for its ecumenical connotations may well prove to be 
of capital and lasting significance. 

A chief concern of the Council itself, mirrored clearly in, and 
in fact sparked by, the Liturgy Constitution, is the effort to per- 
sonalize religion, i.e., to make our Christian life more of a personal, 
responsible experience, a personal encounter with God and our neigh- 
bor that takes place above all, according to the will of Christ, within 
the community of the Church. This, as is evident, is the Christian 
counterpart of the contemporary passionate — and almost desperate — 
search for the true meaning of love, or self-commitment, to another 
person or persons, based on an ever deeper insight into the dignity 
and worth of the individual and his necessary responsible relations 
to the community. 

Now the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy embodies this 
needed emphasis on the personal dimension of religion, as exercised 
in the Christian community through the mystery of the sacraments, 
and most especially the Eucharist. Let me illustrate under two 

1). The liturgy, since it is our encounter with Christ, demands 
personal involvement. The liturgy, and above all the Eucharist, is 
in the first place the highpriestly action of Christ. It is the mystery 
of His saving acts, of His death and resurrection, activated or brought 
somehow into the present in order that we might share in them and 
thus be saved. The Eucharist is the renewal of the Covenant ("This 
is the Covenant in My Blood"), a covenant between God and His 
people, between God and each member of His holy priestly people 
through time. Hence, participation in the Eucharist must again be- 
come for each Christian person subjectively, personally, that which 
it is objectively in the plan of God — the fount of all holiness. Hence, 
too, the Council's concern about simplifying and clarifying the rite of 
the Eucharist (also of the other sacraments), that they again become 
easily and generally intelligible, "that they express more clearly the 
holy things which they signify" (Art. 21). The Church is not an 
aristocracy, so that her rites are for the edification and (let me frankly 
say it) for the aesthetic enjoyment of a select few, of an elite. The 
Church is the populus Dei, the holy people of God, and it is precisely 
her great dignity and honor — and obligation — that she is above all 
the Church of the poor, also of the illiterate, of people from factories 
and farms, shops and kitchens. She is the Church of the anawim, 


of God's little ones. All these too must feel at home in the Church, must 
personally be moved, in faith and love — by that which they see and 
hear and do. Hence, since participation in the Lord's Supper, in the 
mystery of His saving death and resurrection, is the Christian's 
highest privilege, his most Christian act, such participation must, by 
that very fact, be his highest and most personally conscious and 
deliberate exercise of faith, of hope, and of charity. 

Of faith. Every Sunday, when the Christian community meets to 
celebrate the Eucharist, there is first of all a synaxis, a Scripture ser- 
vice wherein Christ speaks to His flock, to stir up and enlighten their 
faith. The Creed is next prayed, wherein they renew their baptismal 
faith and commitment to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But it is 
above all in the Eucharistic service itself that their faith finds its 
deepening, its renewal, its fullest expression. The Preface and great 
Eucharistic Prayer (the anaphora) is addressed to the Father, 
through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. It is the most solemn, the most 
didactically and spiritually formative announcement of the saving 
acts of God's history: "As often as you do this, you proclaim the 
death of the Lord, until He comes" ; and to this proclamation, the 
people answer with the scriptural word of faith, of personal Yes, in 
their concluding great Amen. 

Of hope. Ever since biblical and early Christian times, the cele- 
bration itself of the Lord's Supper has been the greatest and most im- 
portant act or expression of hope on the part of the Church and of 
every one of its members. "As often as you do this, you proclaim 
the death of the Lord, until He comes I" The Eucharist is the em- 
bodiment of our eschatological faith. The earthly liturgy is our shar- 
ing in the heavenly liturgy which the author of Revelation describes, 
and whose vision was granted him "on the Lord's day" — the day of 
the early Christian Eucharistic assembly. Hence, we dare to join 
with the heavenly host, singing Holy, Holy, Holy. In no other Chris- 
tian action do we take part so expressly and consciously as God's 
holy people, as members of His heavenly family ; no other occasion 
is of its nature so calculated to remind us that we are pilgrims, so- 
journers on earth, whose true citizenship (and worship) is in heaven. 
(For that reason, too, a technical term to describe the early Christian 
community, especially when assembled in Sunday Eucharistic wor- 
ship, was "paroikia" — an assembly of pilgrims.) And the food which 
our divine Leader gives us is heavenly food, not only in the Old 
Testament "manna" sense that it comes from Heaven's bounty, but 
because it is our Viaticum, the food of our earthly pilgrimage to 
Heaven. Hence, every Lord's Supper is an eloquent Sursum corda 


— "Up with your hearts." And it was quite in order that Paul, in his 
Eucharistic First Epistle to the Corinthians, should conclude his 
message with "Maranatha — come Lord" ; and that that same word 
is found in the earliest non-scriptural description of the Eucharist, 
in the Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Most im- 
portantly, the Eucharist is not merely the expression of our hope 
postponed into the future. It is, in God's mercy, hope already realized, 
for He Who is to come in glory already now becomes present in the 
Eucharistic assembly, in gracious anticipation of that future day. 

Of charity. And finally, the Eucharist or the Lord's Supper is 
our greatest personal and communal act of charity. I will not 
elaborate this point here, but will speak of it somewhat more at 
length in my next lecture. The purpose of the Lord's Supper, its 
role in the Church, is to unite us in Christ and with each other, in a 
charity that embraces all our brethren in Christ, whether slave or free, 
whether Jew or Greek, whether black or white, whether Catholic or 
Protestant or Moslem or Buddhist or Animist or Atheist. The Bread 
we receive is Christ's body broken for the many ! And we eat it and 
drink Christ's blood unworthily, unto our judgment, unless we open 
our hearts thereby and in their strength, not just to a warm over-all 
glow of good will, but open our hearts to bleed for Medgar Evers — 
and for those who killed him. The Table of the Eucharist is our 
Christian declaration to the world of our duty of social justice and 

2). The liturgy demands personal utmost involvement because it 
is our encounter with Christ. This is, beyond doubt, the most impor- 
tant message of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Already 
Pius XII, in Mediator Dei (his encyclical on the liturgy, published in 
1947), in what was the heart of that document, declared that, "Along 
with the Church, her divine Founder is present at every liturgical 
function. . . . He is present in the sacraments, infusing into them the 
power which makes them ready instruments of sanctification" 
(N. 20). "Christ acts each day to save us, in the sacraments and in 
his holy sacrifice" (N. 29). (One hears here the echo of Saint 
Augustine : "It is not Peter who baptizes, it is not Paul who baptizes, 
it is Christ who baptizes.") For us Catholics this truth, which now 
seems so obvious and traditional, was partially (and perhaps largely) 
obscured by our insistence on what we called the Real Presence, 
i.e., the presence of Christ in the consecrated species of bread and 
wine. For if we call that presence "real," we perhaps inevitably 
convey the impression that other modes of presence are somehow 
unreal, or merely figurative. Certain it is that Pius XII's clear state- 


ment already caused a significant re-orientation of thinking among 
those who were willing to listen. The Liturgy Constitution not only 
reiterates but expands the earlier encyclical in at least two important 

In Article 7, the document states : "To accomplish so great a task 
(i.e., to celebrate the paschal mystery . . . whereby the victory and tri- 
umph of His death are again made present) Christ is always present 
in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present 
in the Sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, 
'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly 
offered Himself on the cross,' but especially under the Eucharistic 
species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when 
a man baptizes it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present 
in His Word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the Holy 
Scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the 
Church prays and sings, for He promised : 'Where two or three are 
gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them' 
(Matt. 18:20)." 

Please note, first of all, the climactic emphasis on the presence of 
Christ in the local assembly. The Church is Ecclesia not only in its 
universal extension ; but Christ is present as head to His Body when 
the local community, the parish, gathers for worship. This is obviously 
of cardinal significance to our understanding of the nature of the 
Church, and I will therefore speak of it in greater detail in a sub- 
sequent lecture, which deals with that topic. 

But in addition to this clarification of Christ's presence in the 
local Ecclesia, Article 7 of the Constitution breaks new ground for us 
Catholics, so far as authoritative teaching of recent centuries is con- 
cerned, by stating that "Christ is present in His Word, since it is He 
Himself who speaks when the Holy Scriptures are read in the 
Church." And since this presence in His proclaimed Word is 
enumerated together with His very real presence in the action of the 
sacraments, in the Eucharist, and in the local worshipping assem- 
bly, this presence, too, cannot be called merely figurative, but is as 
real as in those other instances. Christianity is Christ, living and act- 
ing in His body, the Church, and He lives and acts supremely, as 
Priest, but also as King (lawgiver) and Prophet (teaching us by His 
Word), in the liturgy. And in the liturgy, above all other occasions, 
we act with Him, we share in his priestly, kingly, and prophetic role, 
we re-enact His saving actions in sign, we become sons of the resur- 

We share in them, however, only to the extent to which we open 


ourselves to Him, respond to Him, by faith. When Jesus worked 
His miracles in Palestine, He demanded as a condition faith in Him- 
self; and the Gospel even records, in bold words, that He could not 
work miracles in His native Nazareth because of that people's lack of 
faith. One of the all too facile generalizations concerning the division 
of Protestants and Catholics is to claim that Protestants hold man to 
be saved by faith, whereas Catholics speak of being saved by the 
sacraments. As if "Word" and "Sacrament" were not only rivals to 
each other, but mutually exclusive ! We Catholics also believe that 
man is saved by faith, for we too claim to be Christians, and the 
witness of sacred Scripture on this point brooks no gainsaying. I am 
reminded of a dialogue — incidentally, the first of its kind in the U.S. — 
held at Saint John's Abbey in 1960 between five Protestant and five 
Catholic theologians. I am sure we startled our Protestant friends 
on that occasion when we stated that we Catholics also believe that 
we are saved sola fide. Of course, we hastened to explain that the 
"sola fides" includes the sacraments, and would be incomplete without 
them, because the sacraments of their nature, and according to 
Catholic tradition, are the signs of faith willed by Christ: "Unless you 
believe and are baptized. . . ." 

But we also had to admit that this understanding of the sacra- 
ments, as signs of faith, had not been to the forefront of average 
Catholic thinking, because of the polemical stress since Reformation 
times on sacraments as causes of grace. We have emphasized, for 
apologetic reasons, that sacraments cause grace ex opere operato. 
And perhaps I will now startle some of you if I express a hearty 
hope, as a Catholic theologian, that at least a temporary moratorium 
be placed on the use of the phrase ex opere operato. I do believe in 
the ex opere operato causality of sacraments. But the all too common 
impression given by the phrase, of sacraments automatically con- 
ferring grace, is not only a distortion of our beliefs, but a denial of the 
Christian belief that only Christ can confer grace — nor can anyone, 
anywhere, at any time, compel Him to do so, no matter what sacred 
words are spoken or action performed. As a matter of fact, we have 
not even ever been able to find a really satisfactory translation of the 
phrase. What it means historically is clear : sacraments are not 
things, they are actions of Christ, saving actions by which, according 
to His own willing, He unites us to Himself to the extent to which 
we have faith, to the extent to which we say Yes to Him. I believe 
that by means of the visible sign which we call sacrament I encounter 
Christ just as truly as did His contemporaries in Palestine 2,000 
years ago. But, as in that encounter, my spiritual eyes will not be 


opened, my lame feet will not be healed, unless I meet Christ in faith, 
unless, that is, the sacramental sign is truly expressive for me of my 
self-surrender to my Lord. Ex opere operato does not mean that 
sacraments have saving power in themselves, as containers. It means : 
Christ works through this sign which He himself has instituted. 
Ex opere operato (literally "by the action performed") means in con- 
text: ex actione Christi ("by the action of Christ"), It is significant 
to recall that Saint Thomas Aquinas, although he had used the phrase 
ex opere operato in earlier works, did not employ it in his great 
mature theological work, the Summa Theologica. Instead, he spoke 
of ex actione Christi, or ex virtute Christi ("by the power of Christ") . 
If that is what the phrase really means, and it is, then I think there 
will be general gain if we say so. The Protestant Reformation, in- 
sofar as it was an emphasis on faith, was a justified reaction to a 
prevalent all-too-mechanistic presentation of the sacraments, in prac- 
tice if not in principle. One is even led to wonder whether, if in the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries Saint Thomas' example had been 
followed, and sacraments had been effectively and generally taught 
to be the saving acts of Christ in the present, and therefore our 
personal encounter with Him through faith, whether, I say, the 
Protestant Reformation would have happened, or happened as 
it did, as the tragic division of Christendom. True, the Council 
of Trent did define that faith is the root and foundation of all 
sanctification. But by then it was too late to heal the breach, to 
undo the damage which the false image of the mechanistic causality 
of sacraments had projected. And so, for four centuries, in the 
popular mind Protestant sola fides has stood in opposition to 
Catholic sacramental causality. 

Here is what the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says, in 
Article 59, introducing the chapter on the sacraments : "Because 
sacraments are signs, they also instruct. They not only presuppose 
faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen and 
express faith; that is why they are called 'sacraments (i.e., signs) of 
faith.' They do impart grace, but, in addition, the very act of cele- 
brating them most effectively disposes the faithful to receive this 
grace in a fruitful manner, to worship God duly, and to practice 
charity." (Not a word, you will notice, of the customary ex opere 
operato — which is at least a temporary moratorium.) 

The Article continues by drawing a conclusion from this faith- 
dimension of sacraments: "It is therefore of the highest importance 
that the faithful should easily understand the sacramental signs." 
Hence the thorough reform of all sacramental rites ordered by the 


Council, for, as Article 62 declares : "With the passage of time, there 
have crept into the rites . . . certain features which have rendered 
their nature and purpose far from clear to the people of today ; 
therefore some changes have become necessary to adapt them to 
the needs of our times." And that is the task of the Post-Conciliar 
Liturgical Commission, entrusted with the thorough-going reform of 
the rites of Mass, of all the other sacraments and of all liturgical 
rites, now in full progress. This Commission consists of some forty 
Bishops from throughout the world, chosen especially because of 
their proven interest in pastoral-liturgical renewal (its American 
members are Cardinal Archbishop Ritter of St. Louis and Archbishop 
Hallinan of Atlanta), and some one hundred and twenty consultors, 
with another two hundred advisors, including nearly every Catholic 
liturgical scholar of note from every nation, divided into forty-two 
sub-commissions, many of whose members are working full-time on 
their respective projects. This thorough reform of the Catholic 
liturgy, the first such systematic and planned reform in the history 
of the Church, may take anywhere from four to six or seven years. 
I sincerely believe that, as a result of its efforts, we may look forward 
optimistically to the Eucharist becoming a far more meaningful 
experience, deepening our faith, hope and love. 

In all events, it is evident that the liturgical reforms are taking 
place primarily in the interest of faith — to make the sacraments, 
which by definition are signs of faith, fully and surely such : i.e., ex- 
pressions of the faith of the Church, that Christ through these signs 
is presently continuing His highpriestly work of salvation ; and signs 
deepening and renewing the personal faith of the Christian in this, 
his personal encounter with his Savior. 

This, too, the word or faith-dimension of sacraments, underlies the 
strikingly drastic increase in the use of sacred Scripture ordered by 
the Constitution, and its insistence on frequent homilies. For faith 
comes through hearing. 

Herewith some pertinent quotations: "Sacred Scripture is of the 
greatest importance in the celebration of the liturgy. For it is from 
Scripture that lessons are read and explained in the homily, and 
psalms are sung; the prayers, collects and liturgical songs are 
scriptural in their inspiration, and it is from the Scriptures that 
actions and signs derive their meaning. Thus to achieve the restora- 
tion, progress and adaptation of the Sacred Liturgy, it is essential 
to promote that warm and living love for Scripture to which the 
venerable traditions of both Eastern and Western rites give testi- 
mony" (Art. 24). 


"In sacred celebrations there is to be more reading from Holy 
Scripture, and it is to be more varied and suitable" (Art. 35). In 
fact (it is already taken for granted) in the Mass of the future, instead 
of a one-year cycle of Scripture readings as at present, with always 
the same Epistle and Gospel on a respective Sunday, there will be a 
several-year cycle of readings, with probably an additional reading 
from the Old Testament for every Sunday and major feast. But 
not only will there be an increase of Scripture readings in Mass. 
The Constitution says : "In sacred celebrations" — hence, very likely 
a Scripture reading or readings will be a normal part in the ad- 
ministration of the other sacraments as well. 

Article 35 continues : "The sermon is part of the liturgical service." 
No longer, therefore, is the sermon merely an optional, or an ad 
libitum annex — as which it has perhaps too frequently been considered 
up to now, with a consequent minimizing and even neglect of its 
critical importance. "The sermon, moreover, should draw its content 
mainly from scriptural and liturgical sources, and its character should 
be that of the proclamation of God's wonderful works in the history 
of salvation, the mystery of Christ, ever made present and active 
within us, especially in the celebration of the liturgy." "Bible services 
should be encouraged, especially on the vigils of the more solemn 
feasts, on some weekdays in Advent and Lent, and on Sundays 
and on feastdays." This will mean in the concrete, that such Bible 
services will very probably take the place of the customary evening 
devotions, which now often consist for the most part of the recita- 
tion of the rosary and a few hymns, followed by Benediction. 

In a word, a considerable increase of sacred Scripture is de- 
manded, outside as well as within the official liturgy. This would 
seem a tacit admission of previous relative neglect in practice. It 
is, indeed, a bitter pill for us Catholics to swallow, to admit that we 
have indeed given less than its due role to sacred Scripture. When 
speaking of this matter to Catholic audiences, I sometimes present 
them with a test case. If, while traveling on a bus, a train, or plane, we 
see someone absorbed in the study of the New Testament, with 
perhaps pencil in hand, making annotations in the margin, what 
are the odds of his being a Catholic or Protestant ? I believe the odds 
are such that it would be unethical to make a bet ! 

Because of the centrality of the Eucharist, and its formative role 
in the life of the Christian community, it is above all in the Sunday 
Eucharist that homily and sacred Scripture are, according to the 
Constitution, to be given new and more urgent prominence. "The 
homily is to be highly esteemed to be part of the liturgy itself" (Art. 


52) — this is the second time that this is inculcated in this same docu- 
ment. "In fact, at those Masses which are celebrated with the as- 
sistance of the people on Sundays and feasts of obligation, the homily 
may not be omitted, except for a serious reason" (Art. 52). In sum: 
"The treasures of the Bible are to be opened up more lavishly, so 
that richer fare may be provided for the faithful at the table of God's 
word" (Art. 51). Here the Constitution even introduces a change of 
traditional terminology. We have been accustomed to speak of the 
Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful. The Constitu- 
tion speaks of the Service of the Word and the Eucharistic Service, of 
the "table of God's word," corresponding to the table of God's 
bread: for "Not from bread alone does man live (not even from 
the bread of Christ's sacred body), but from every word that pro- 
ceeds from the mouth of God." 

The ecumenical import of this greater role to be assigned to 
sacred Scripture in the reformed Catholic liturgy hardly requires 
underscoring. Moreover, in a number of Churches — Anglican, 
Presbyterian, Lutheran among others — there has become operative a 
similar desire to "provide a richer fare for the faithful at the table 
of God's word," resulting in new, and sometimes as yet experimental, 
lectionaries in a two- or three-year cycle. Already in some parts of 
the English-speaking world, too, the dream of a common Bible has 
been realized : in England and Scotland, e.g., the Catholic Bishops 
have permitted the general use of the Revised Standard Version. 
Thus, even though we cannot as yet give expression to our common 
desire for Christian unity by eating at the same table of Christ's body, 
Divine Providence would seem to be drawing us together in fra- 
ternal understanding and charity, by this our greater common par- 
taking of the selfsame bread of His living and life-giving word. 
For this His merciful gift, we humbly thank Him, and pray to be 
faithful to His will. 

II. The Nature of the Church 
and Its Government 

Godfrey L. Diekmann 

The Schema "De Ecclesia" (On the Church), as originally 
drawn up and presented to the second session in the fall of 1963, 
proved a severe disappointment.* During the five weeks it was 
discussed on the Council floor, from September 23 to October 31, 
hardly a kind voice was heard in its defense, except from those who 
had had part in its drafting, or by the predictable defenders of the 
status quo. 

Archbishop Martin of Rouen in France, speaking in the name of 
the French hierarchy, summarized the general discontent as follows: 
Its chief fault (he said) was that, though it professed to deal ex 
professo with the nature of the Church, it presented, despite its pro- 
testations to the contrary, a view of the Church that is still pri- 
marily institutional, and therefore at variance with the ecclesiology 
that is embodied in the Schema "On the Liturgy," which has al- 
ready been adopted and approved by the Council. In other words, the 
proposed Schema "De Ecclesia" gives priority to the government 
of the Church, rather than to the intrinsic nature of the Church as a 
worshipping community, centering its life in the Eucharist or Lord's 
Supper — of which more basic question government, albeit essential, 
is only supplementary and consequential. 

This intervention of Archbishop Martin seemed to express the 
mind of the great majority present. It received confirmation in the 
talk of Cardinal Suenens of Malines, Belgium, which was probably 
the turning-point (as, to my thinking, it was certainly the climax) 
of the second session. The talk is reprinted in the paperback 
volume, Council Speeches of Vatican II, edited by Fathers Kiing, 
O'Hanlon, and Congar, published recently by the Paulist Press. 
Significantly, Cardinal Suenens' talk is given pride of place in this 
collection. The Cardinal spoke of the charismatic nature of the 
Church. The general tenor of his crucial intervention may perhaps be 
sensed from the following citations : 

"The Holy Spirit is the first-fruits (Romans 8:23), the first 

* Since this paper was given, the Constitution on the Church has been revised, 
promulgated and published. — G.L.D. 


installment of the Church (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5) in this world. There- 
fore the Church is called the dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph. 
2:22). It follows from this that the Holy Spirit is not given to 
pastors only, but to each and every Christian. 'Do you not know 
that you are the temple of God, and that the Holy Spirit dwells in 
you?' says St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:16). In baptism, 
the sacrament of faith, all Christians receive the Holy Spirit. All 
Christians, 'living stones' as they are called, are to be built into a 
'spiritual dwelling' — oikos pneumatikos (2 Pet. 2:5). Therefore 
the whole Church is essentially a truly 'pneumatic' or spiritual reality, 
built on the foundation not only of the Apostles, but, as Eph. 2 :20 
says, also of prophets. . . . Each and every Christian, whether let- 
tered or unlettered, has his charism in his daily life, but — as St. 
Paul says — 'All of these must aim at one thing : to build up the 
church' (1 Cor. 14:26; cf. 14:3-5)." 

This charismatic, pneumatic or spiritual nature of the Church is 
its first characteristic. The Church is the body of Christ, in which the 
Holy Spirit dwells and is active and informs all its members. Onto- 
logically, the Church is the spiritual body of Christ before it is an 
hierarchical body. The distinction between hierarchy (pope, bishops, 
priests, deacons) and the laity, though essential to the nature of the 
Church because so willed equally and simultaneously by Christ, is 
derivative and complementary to the nature of the Church as the 
people of God, the body of Christ, in which the Spirit dwells, en- 
abling it to worship in spirit and truth, and to bring the spirit of wor- 
ship to bear upon the world for its transformation. 

Parenthetically, it might be added that this is perhaps the first 
time since the Reformation of the 16th century, that it has been so 
clearly and publicly stated that the Protestant reformers had a true 
insight into the nature of the Church as a spiritual body. Though, 
as Catholics, we would immediately add that this true insight was 
tragically marred by their rejection of the hierarchical dimension, 
against which it was a reaction. And the tragedy was compounded 
by our Catholic failure, in the heat of controversy, to recognize and 
admit the Tightness of the insight. Instead, we insisted more vigor- 
ously than before on the institutional and hierarchical at the practical 
expense of the prophetic. 

In any event, as a result of this discussion in the second session, 
an all-important change in the Schema "De Ecclesia" was decided 
upon. The original draft, after treating of Christ, founder and head 
of the Church, passed next to a consideration of the hierarchy, and 
thirdly, to the laity. The Theological Commission responsible for the 


wording of the text was instructed by the Council to revise the 
Schema so that, after a first chapter on Christ, the next chapter will 
deal with the entire populus Dei, the people of God, the body of 
Christ, embracing both hierarchy and laity, and then, in the third in- 
stance only, there will be the articulation of this people of God into 
successive treatments of hierarchy and laity. 

This thoroughly revised Schema was presented to the third ses- 
sion of the Council as the first matter on its agenda when it met 
a month ago, in mid-September. It is, to all effects and purposes, an 
almost completely new document, a superb biblical and pastoral 
portrayal of the Mystery of the Church. Though discussion of it 
lasted a month, one could sense the general satisfaction with it on 
the part of the great majority of the Council Fathers, and it is confi- 
dently expected that after some of the final corrections and improve- 
ments will have been embodied, it will be officially promulgated at 
the close of this session, to take its place, with the Constitution on 
the Sacred Liturgy, as one of the most historically significant declara- 
tions of the Catholic Church, and as a documentary foundation for 
her earnest purpose of self-reformation and renewal. Archbishop 
Martin's criticism has been successfully met, and the ecclesiology 
implicit in the Liturgy Constitution here finds its complementation 
and more expansive development. In view of the fact that the docu- 
ment "De Ecclesia" is not yet available, I will attempt, for the present, 
to indicate several of the salient features most relevant to the mystery 
of the Church as they have already found expression in the Liturgy 
Constitution, and which are presupposed and will find more ample 
and intense consideration in the new document "De Ecclesia." 

The Church is, before all else, a Mystery, the holy people of God, 
united and ordered under their Bishops (this is the famous quotation 
from Saint Cyprian) for the primary purpose of worshipping God. 
"The pre-eminent manifestation (epiphany) of the Church consists 
in the full, active participation of all God's holy people in the liturgical 
celebrations, especially in the same Eucharist, in a single prayer, at 
one altar at which there presides the Bishop surrounded by his col- 
lege of priests, and by his ministers" (Art. 41, quoting Saint Ignatius 
of Antioch). Or again, in Art. 2, "The liturgy through which the 
work of our redemption is accomplished, most of all in the divine 
sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means by which the 
faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery 
of Christ and the real nature of the true Church." "It is the liturgy 
(and, in context, this means the Eucharist) which builds up those who 
are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for 


God in the Spirit to the mature measure of the fulness of Christ." 
Even more decisively it is stated in Articles 9 and 10 that teaching 
and ruling (or government) are functions subsidiary to worship: 
"From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as 
from a fount, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification 
of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activi- 
ties are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most effi- 
cacious way." 

Though the document does not use the term, it is clear that it 
regards the Eucharist as the Ur-Sakrament (primal sacrament). 
Christ is the Ur-Sakrament; the Church, the visible sign of Christ 
through time is the Ur-Sakrament (the "sacrament of unity" it is 
called in Art. 26.) ; and the Eucharist is the Ur-Sakrament, the sign 
which is the epiphany of the Church and of Christ to the faithful and 
to the world, the sign which proclaims the death of the Lord. Even 
baptism is not an end in itself : rather it is a sacrament of initiation, 
with a eucharistic finality : "so that all who are made sons of God 
by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst 
of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's 
Supper" (Art. 10). We become sons of God, in order that we may, 
as members of His family, worship Him properly, and by that very 
fact become duly functioning family members. The purpose of the 
Eucharist is the up-building of the body of Christ. The Eucharist 
constitutes, forms, yes, "creates" the people of God : "This is the 
covenant in my blood. . . ." 

This formative power and purpose of the Eucharistic bread was 
already foreshadowed in its type in the Old Testament, the manna, 
whereby God more closely welded together "His people." It is un- 
mistakably clear in 1 Cor. 10:17: "Because there is one loaf, we 
who are many are one body, for we all partake of the same loaf." 
The purpose of the letter, we recall, was to heal the schism in the 
contentious Corinthian Church. Paul says further: "The cup of bless- 
ing which we bless, is it not communion (koinonia, fellowship) in the 
blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not communion 
{koinonia, fellowship) in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). This 
topic sentence is then developed in the subsequent chapters. In 
chapter 11, we have an account of the institution of the Eucharist, 
the sacrament or sign of unity. In Chapter 12 is described the variety 
of gifts, all deriving from the same Spirit, all contributing to the 
one body : in other words, the doctrine of unity. And in Chapter 13, 
the canticle of fraternal charity, the ethical or moral realization of 
unity is portrayed. The sacrament of unity, the doctrine of unity, 


and the morals of unity — and these three are one. That this juxta- 
position is more than a happy accident becomes evident from the 
Gospel accounts of the Institution. 

The Last Supper was an intimate family paschal meal, or, at the 
very least, it took place in the setting of a meal with paschal connota- 
tions. Its significance as a sign of unity and charity is strengthened 
by the account of the washing of feet. There follows, in John's Gospel, 
the doctrine of unity : the parable of the vine and branches, together 
with the highpriestly prayer, "That they may be one, as thou 
Father in me and I in Thee. . . ." And thirdly, as in Saint Paul's 
account, there is presented the moral dimension of unity by means 
of the Last Discourse's stress on fraternal charity : "By this shall 
all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for 
another. . . ." This interpretation is not weakened if, as some Scrip- 
ture scholars maintain, not all the words of this discourse were do 
facto spoken on this occasion. The evangelist, with sure instinct 
(the instinct of the Holy Spirit), placed them in this context, where 
they would be most appropriate. 

This role of the Eucharist, or Lord's Supper, as formative of the 
Christian community, was also well understood in the early Church. 
Thus, for instance, Clement of Rome, writing to the Corinthians at 
the turn of the first century, and faced with the same situation in the 
Corinthian Church to which Paul addressed himself, gave the same 
answer as Paul — and in the same order. He first describes the 
celebration of the Eucharist in Chapters 40 and 41 : "Let each one of 
you, brethren, join in the Eucharist according to his rank. . . ." Then, 
in Chapter 46, he treats of the mystical body, of the need of unity, 
and the criminal nature of disunity : "Why do we divide and tear 
asunder the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own 
body, and reach such a pitch of madness as to forget that we are 
members one of another?" And finally, in Chapter 50, he voices 
his great hymn on charity, almost in the same words as Paul. 

The identical lesson can be drawn from the Didache, the Teaching 
of the Twelve Apostles, in which we have the earliest description of the 
Eucharist in Christian non-scriptural writing. It is in this document 
that we have the first instance of the famous simile of the many 
grains of wheat making up the one bread, a simile which then became 
commonplace in subsequent writers and was especially beloved by 
Augustine : "As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, 
but was brought together and became one, so let thy Church be 
gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom." 
Multiple further testimony from the Fathers could be adduced. 


Particularly forceful is the witness of Saint John Chrysostom, repre- 
senting the East, and Saint Augustine, representing the West. Cen- 
turies later, Saint Thomas Aquinas was only summarizing both 
Scripture and patristic teaching when he stated : "Res hums sacra- 
menti est unitas mystici Corporis — the purpose, the effect, the grace 
of this sacrament is the unity of the Mystical Body." The Eucharist 
is the sacrament, the sign that signifies and brings about the Church's 

I think, in fact, that a good case could be made for the thesis that 
both Scripture and patristic writing almost take for granted, and 
therefore lay less stress on, the Eucharist uniting us to God (let us call 
this the vertical line), but insist more frequently and more urgently 
on the Lord's Supper uniting us to each other in Christ as His family 
of brethren (let us call this the horizontal line). The Ecclesia cele- 
brates the Eucharist, partakes of the Lord's Supper, in order to 
become more fully and truly the Ecclesia. Or, to paraphrase Saint 
Paul, we eat the Lord's body in order to become ever more really His 
mystical body. The food which the Lord prepares for us at His 
table is food with a specific purpose : "That he might gather into one 
the children of God who were scattered abroad" (John 11 :52). The 
Eucharist is the self-realization of the Church, her epiphany to the 

I believe that two important consequences follow : 
1). That in a very profound sense, Ecclesia and Eucharistia are 
co-terminous and co-extensive. The Ecclesia is never so much ecclesia 
as when it gathers to celebrate the Lord's Supper. "And they devoted 
themselves to the Apostles' teaching and fellowship ( koinonia) , to the 
breaking of bread, and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). From the very 
first generation after Christ the Sunday meeting of the Christians was 
normally a Eucharistic synaxis and meal, and thereby they were, in 
the power of the Spirit and in the strength of this bread, moulded 
into a strong body of Christ ; they became more consciously and de- 
liberately members of each other, because more fully members of 
Christ. Hence, it is not surprising to learn, as Pere de Lubac points 
out in his historical study, Corpus Mysticum, that for approximately 
a thousand years the term mystical body signified the Eucharistic 
bread, and only then it came to be applied almost exclusively to the 
Church. That is, to repeat : ecclesia and eucharistia are in their deep- 
est meaning co-extensive. This, too, I might recall, was a statement 
of principle derived from Scripture study proposed at the Faith and 
Order meeting in Lund, Sweden, in 1952 ; and I believe that it is pre- 
cisely since that meeting that in many Protestant Churches there has 


been a determined effort to observe the Lord's Supper more fre- 
quently, and even every Sunday. 

2). A second conclusion is a lesson which we Catholics, certainly, 
must re-discover in its pastoral and moral consequences. If it is by 
Christ's Eucharistic body, above all, that we become more truly 
Christ's mystical body, then God's gift becomes our personal and 
communal obligation. Like the disciples at Emmaus, we too, in the 
breaking of bread, must discover Christ, the whole Christ, head and 
members. And yet, in a recent sociological study in what was re- 
garded as a model Catholic parish, though well over 90% of the 
parishioners knew that the Mass is supposed to unite them to God 
(i.e., in what we earlier called the vertical line), only a minority or 
some 30% had any realistic living awareness of the horizontal — 
fraternal charity — dimension and purpose of the eucharistic bread. 
These are frightening statistics, no less so because they could probably 
be duplicated with an even more depressing result percentagewise in 
many of our parishes. 

By Christ's will, we receive His body and blood into our hearts 
in order that thereby we may learn to open our minds and hearts to 
the many for whom He died — our brethren. Fraternal charity is the 
first and greatest commandment, and Christ gave us the Eucharist, 
the greatest sacrament, that we might with His strength observe this 
first and most difficult commandment. It was at the Last Supper that 
Jesus told us : "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples 
that you have love one for another." I am afraid that, in the practical 
order, for many Catholics the statement would, in all realistic honesty, 
have to be revised to read : "By this shall all men know that you are 
Catholics, that you don't eat meat on Friday." The only fair de- 
duction from this state of things is that we teachers have taught poorly. 
We have not convinced our people that we profane the body and blood 
of Christ if we receive them and continue to practice discrimination, 
if we fail to be passionately concerned about better housing, fair em- 
ployment, decent living on the part of all our brothers in Christ. The 
Eucharistic body of Christ builds up the community of Christians, 
the parish, but parochialism is a sin against Christ's body and blood. 
The Lord's Supper is a spiritual and social ferment, more, it is dyna- 
mite — and we have casually, if unwittingly, extinguished the fuse. 

The Council, moreover, accepted and made its own the descriptive 
definition of the liturgy which Pope Pius XII, in his encyclical "On 
the Liturgy" in 1947, had declared to be "the worship rendered by 
the mystical body in the entirety of its head and members" (N. 20). 
It is "an action of Christ, the priest, and of His body, which is the 


Church," and for this reason it is "a sacred action surpassing all 
others" (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Art. 7). That is to say, 
the Liturgy — and especially the Eucharist, which is the most important 
activity of the Church, revealing most clearly her inner essence — is 
not an action, in the first instance, of the ordained priest for the 
benefit of the laity, nor his professional activity in which the laity 
are allowed to participate to a certain limited extent. Rather, every 
act of the liturgy is the act of the whole Christ, of Christ the head and 
of His whole body. The biblical usage of applying the word priest 
(hiereus) to Christ and to the entire "chosen race, a royal priesthood, 
a holy nation, a purchased people" ( 1 Pet. 2 :9) is faithfully echoed. 
The whole people of God, clergy and laity, constitute "a spiritual 
house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God 
through Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5). The Church is Ecclesia, the 
priestly people of God, "sealed with the promised Holy Spirit ... to 
the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1 :14). 

Moreover, this Ecclesia becomes visible living reality most im- 
mediately in the local worshipping community, in what we in the 
course of time have come to call the parish. Therefore the Consti- 
tution, in the same Art. 7, basing itself on our Lord's words, states : 
"To accomplish so great a work (i.e., to reactivate the paschal 
mystery), Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her 
liturgical celebrations. . . . He is present when the Church prays 
and sings, for He promised, 'where two or three are gathered to- 
gether in My name, there I am in the midst of them' (Matt. 18 :20)." 

Doubtless one of the most important ecclesiological features of 
the Constitution is its emphasis on the presence of Christ in the 
local assembly. The Church is ecclesia not only in its universal ex- 
tension; Christ is present as head to His body when the local com- 
munity, the parish, gathers for worship. This thought is repeated 
in Article 42, which treats specifically of the parish as realizing 
somehow (but truly) the concept of ecclesia. For the average Chris- 
tian, it is his parish church and the Lord's Supper there participated 
in that constitute his immediate and experienced belonging to the 
Church, his encounter with Christ in the community. It is there that 
he must experience the brotherhood of his fellow members. It is 
there that his mind and heart must be opened, by his Eucharistic ex- 
perience, to his brotherhood with every soul redeemed by Christ, 
including the Patagonian who has never even heard of Jesus. 

For us Catholics this declaration of the Constitution is one of its 
most significant contributions. No doubt because our thinking about 
the Church has been so conditioned by the traditional institutional 


emphasis, despite our awareness of its inadequacies and our efforts 
to overcome it, "Church" meant for us the Catholic universal 
Church, of which diocese and parish were geographical parts, ad- 
ministrative divisions. The mystery of the local ecclesia was all too 
much overlooked. The Constitution, therefore, without of course 
impugning the reality of the Church's universality or catholicity, 
focuses our attention, in biblical fashion and words, on the mysterion 
of the local worshipping community, constituting an ecclesia in which 
Christ dwells and, with His body, His holy people, is active in the 
things pertaining to the Father's glory : "Where two or three are 
gathered in my name. . . ." 

And because of this newly recognized nature and role of the local 
community, the Constitution, anticipating in this an historically 
important change of ecclesiological polity which had not as yet even 
been brought up on the Council floor (namely, the idea of episcopal 
collegiality), grants to territorial groups of bishops certain powers 
of adapting the rites of the liturgy to suit local conditions — of which 
they, obviously, are the best judges. By way of parenthesis: this 
meant that the Council approved collegiality in pastoral practice 
before it had discussed it in theological principle. The import of this 
recognition of the significance of the local ecclesia is equally far- 
reaching; namely, that unity, and not uniformity, is one of the 
essential notes of the universal Church ; that uniformity can in fact 
be stifling, life-killing; that, to quote a biblical phrase which was a 
Christian ideal for at least a thousand years, the Church is a bride 
"circumdata varietate — arrayed in garments of multiple hues." The 
monolithic Church, though it may be the dream of ecclesiastical 
bureaucrats, cannot be the ideal of a Catholic Church which claims 
to be the living body of Christ. Adaptation, while safeguarding es- 
sentials, is of the essence of a living organism; it is an absolute 
must for Pope John's hope of spiritual rejuvenation. Without it, 
the Church can never become relevant to the culture in which she 
lives ; she defeats a priori her goal of consecratio mundi, the trans- 
formation of the world. Or, to apply Pope John's homely words, 
what is the purpose of opening windows if not that fresh air drive 
out, replace, the stale, so that persons occupying the room may ac- 
complish better work? 

A major conclusion of the foregoing is that the bishop is never so 
much a bishop, or the ordained priest so much a priest, as when, 
surrounded by his people and together with them, he leads them 
in the common worship. There is here no question of lessening his 
authority in the community ; this authority, we Catholics hold, de- 


rives not from the community, by delegation of the community, but 
from God. (It was chiefly to underscore this fact that the term 
"monarchical hierarchy" became customary.) The ordained minister 
is chosen from among men by the special call of God Himself, and 
is consecrated by the power of God to exercise his ministry with 
divinely delegated authority. But what the Council and the Liturgy 
Constitution stress, in a manner that will likely seem new to many 
Catholics and to the clergy themselves, but which in fact is nothing 
else than a biblical orientation, is the manner of exercising that au- 
thority. The priesthood of the ordained clergy is a ministerial priest- 
hood, a priesthood of loving service, a priesthood whose chief pur- 
pose it is that the entire priestly people of God be enabled and 
assisted to carry out their chief task, that of Eucharistic worship. 
After all, it was on the occasion of the Last Supper that Christ 
Himself said : "I came not to be ministered unto, but to minister." 
And our liturgy of Good Friday has through the centuries sung, 
"regnavit a ligno Deus — God, i.e., Christ, reigned from the cross." 
As if to remind us, who are constantly beset by the primal tempta- 
tion of lust for power, that our Lord, Who had all and full authority, 
exercised it in the highest climactic degree when as Highpriest He 
delivered Himself up for His people in love from the throne of His 

In sum, the Liturgy Constitution and the forthcoming document 
"De Ecclesia," while in no way detracting from the authoritative 
leadership of the ordained bishop or priest, who enacts a role that 
is necessary and unique and which we believe to be of Christ's in- 
stitution, interpret that role in terms, first of all, of service and love. 
If authority does not root in charity, if it is not the palpable ex- 
pression of charity, then that authority is monstrous and radically 
unchristian. Therefore in the liturgy, where that authority of the 
ordained priest finds its highest role, there is a constant dialogue 
between minister and people. In fact, as Saint John Chrysostom 
remarked, the celebrant by saying, "Gratias agamus — let us give 
thanks to the Lord our God," as it were asks permission from his 
people to advance into the great Eucharistic prayer, and the people 
give him leave to do so by responding, "Dignum et ittstitm est — it is 
meet and right." 

"Dialogue" has become in recent years almost a threadbare word. 
And yet what other is there to express a communing in understand- 
ing and charity? There was such a dialogue between Jesus and His 
heavenly Father when Jesus surrendered Himself in obedience to the 
Father's supreme authority : "Not my will but thine be done." Only 


by a similar dialogue, based on Christian faith and self-less love, 
can the vexed question of authority versus freedom in the Church 
be broached. It is undoubtedly true that, because of an institutional 
emphasis in interpreting the nature of the Church, we Catholics 
have for centuries stressed authority at the expense of freedom, at the 
expense of the Church's prophetic or charismatic nature. And I 
hope you will not accuse me of unecumenical bias when I add that 
Protestants seem not to have avoided the contrary emphasis on free- 
dom to the neglect of the ministerial authority. Authority and free- 
dom — the divinely delegated authority which in God's name is 
entitled to and must demand obedience and, on the other hand, the 
ineradicable and absolutely essential freedom of every son of God — 
the solution of this paradox constitutes for us Catholics today our 
most pressing problem and will entail the most far-reaching con- 
sequences in our polity and daily Christian life. And, if I am not 
mistaken, the problem of authority likewise constitutes the most 
divisive problem in Catholic-Protestant ecumenical relations. Others, 
such as Mariology, may be more psychologically and devotionally 
(and also emotionally) divisive. But the Catholic Church's claim 
for the authority of her hierarchy, particularly of bishops and above 
all of the Pope, seems to preclude any reasonable hope of ultimate 
mutual understanding. That rock which was Peter, and which we 
Catholics believe to be the living successor of Peter, on which Christ 
willed to build His Church, instead of being the rock assuring unity 
has tragically become the rock of scandal of disunity among us. 

That is why, it seems to me, the re-thinking that is going on in 
the Council in regard to the purpose and role of authority in the 
Catholic Church, in less exclusively isolated clerical terms, but in 
the fuller context of the entire people of God, gifted with His free- 
dom of sons, is of highest significance not only for us, but also for 
ecumenical hopes. 

I suspect that many of you in this audience have become in- 
creasingly impatient with me during this lecture, wondering when I 
will get to the point about the government of the Church — to the 
relation between the supreme jurisdiction of the Pope and that of the 
collegiality of bishops, to the "obstructive machinations" of the 
Curia about which the Press has so often reported, etc. I had, 
indeed, first thought of speaking of these matters, for they obviously 
constitute a crucially significant part of the aggiornamento of the 
Church. These are the things that make news, that seem primary. 
Nor do I have any intention of minimizing their importance. How- 
ever, to allay any suspicions that may lurk in your minds, I can 


assure you that my failure to treat of them did not arise from coward- 
ice on my part to grapple with thorny questions. Rather, unless I 
have completely misunderstood the significance of Vatican Council 
II, the determination of who exercises authority, however pertinent 
in practice, is, in view of the self-reform of the Catholic Church and 
her relations to other Christian Churches — which are the declared 
purposes of the Council — more or less irrelevant, or merely academic, 
unless the Christ-willed meaning of authority and the how of its 
exercise are clearly understood and accepted and realized in prac- 
tice. The Church is a mystery of love, visibly expressed in an insti- 
tution of service, not of domination. 

In order to achieve this understanding, I, for one, venture to ex- 
press the hope that a moratorium might be placed also on the phrase 
"monarchical hierarchy." This adjective "monarchical," borrowed 
from a secular frame of thought and polity, can at best be analogously 
meaningful when applied to a spiritual reality such as the Church. 
I am not, of course, denying that element of truth which the ad- 
jective, rightly understood, conveys. But this, it seems to me, is 
an obvious instance in which, to quote Pope John, though the 
essentials of truth remain ever the same, its mode of expression must 
sometimes undergo change in the interests of contemporary and 
changing intelligibility and connotations. Christ's Church is, in the 
contemporary connotations of those words, neither monarchical 
nor democratic. In fact, of the two, monarchical, insofar as it 
evokes thoughts of autocratic, dictatorial abuse of clerical power, may 
be more misleading than the term democratic. The image (Oh, 
patient word!) that we have managed to project by our insistence 
on monarchical hierarchy is, in fact, a serious distortion of the 
biblical and Christian meaning of Christ-like and Christ-rooted 
authority. If the Council succeeds, in consequential prolongation 
and expansion of the new stress on the authority of ordained priests 
and bishops as a ministerial authority rooted in love, without sacri- 
fice of a true and divinely delegated power that can and must be 
met with willing obedience, presupposing the dialogue of spiritual 
father and sons (such as the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy al- 
ready embodies and the document "De Ecclesia" will further de- 
clare), perhaps the two terms of the paradox, authority and free- 
dom, will be more clearly seen, not as contradictory and mutually 
exclusive but as complementary and mutually enriching. That 
such may indeed occur, I humbly ask your charitable and fraternal 

III. The Apostolate of the Laity 

Godfrey L. Diekmann 

Several widely read commentators have pin-pointed the signifi- 
cance of Vatican Council II as the Roman Catholic Church's public 
and official determination as to which of these two adjectives is to 
be given precedence in principle and practice: Is the Church more 
Roman than she is Catholic ? Or is Catholicity to be more operatively 
determinant than Romanita? 

Whatever be the Tightness of this evaluation (and it obviously 
does not suffer from the vice of complexity!), it seems to me that 
there is a second, and perhaps even more permanently significant, 
question that is being frankly proposed, and is at present in the 
process of resolution at the Council. And that is the question : Is the 
Church Catholic or is it Clerical ? In other words, the question of the 
role of the laity in the Church. 

The outcome of the first question, Catholicity or Romanita, would 
seem certain. If, despite the overwhelming vote in favor of the col- 
legiality of bishops in Session II of the Council last Fall, there 
remained any lingering doubt, this was effectively set to rest by 
Pope Paul's opening speech to the third session in mid-September. 
The burden of that address was his urgent hope that Vatican Council 
II would complete the unfinished business of Vatican Council I, 
by declaring the supreme ruling power of all the bishops of the 
world in union with, and under the headship of, the Pope. 

The second question, is the Church clerical or catholic, though 
it is still under discussion, seems from all ascertainable reasonably 
reliable indications to be similarly certain of a forceful judgment in 
favor of catholicity. This would mean, in concrete language, that the 
layman's rights of full, responsible citizenship in the Church are to 
be doctrinally clarified, and recognized and utilized in practice. Please 
note : I have been careful to enumerate separately, doctrinal declara- 
tion and implementation in fact. Even though the Council is certain 
to urge the latter, and even though we could presuppose optimum 
good will on the part of all concerned, the process of this readjust- 
ment in the policy of the Church, from the Curia down to the parish 
level, is probably going to entail painful patience. In my own mind, 
I compare this forthcoming declaration on the role of the laity in 
the Church to the decision of the Supreme Court of the United 


States on desegregation. Because of long-established contrary socio- 
logical patterns, the implementation of the principle established, even 
if carried out with "due deliberate speed," of necessity requires not 
only time but the kind of generous charity which covers a multitude 
of sins. 

One of the most illuminating factors in the Council's discussion 
of the layman's role was the unexpectedly severe criticism en- 
countered by the Schema concerned, entitled "On the Apostolate of 
the Laity." The document had been prepared by a group of bishops 
and priests well known for their past energetic sponsoring of lay- 
men's rights. Moreover, they had been actively assisted in their task 
by several laymen internationally prominent in the Catholic lay 
apostolate movement. And yet, by an astonishing irony, these men, 
whose chief concern had been to assert the layman's active role 
in the Church over against an undue and centuries-old clerical pre- 
ponderance — these men, I say, heard their document denounced as 
excessively "clerical." 

The very first intervention, by Cardinal Archbishop Ritter of 
St. Louis, firmly sounded this theme. He called the document too 
clerical, too patronizing, too prolix, diffuse and abstract, and called 
for its thorough revision. His speech was like an electric shock, 
alerting the Council Fathers that a good fight was in the offing. As 
a matter of fact, however, always excepting a predictable point of 
view espoused particularly by some Spanish and Italian Bishops 
quite innocent in their experience of the need of Christian witness 
in a secularist or at least pluralist world, Cardinal Ritter's criticism 
was not only echoed, but magnified in volume and intensity by the 
great majority of speakers. 

Thus Bishop Charbonneau, of Hull, Canada, bluntly called on the 
Council "to crush once and for all that error which is the source 
of so much harm, clericalism." (Incidentally, to avoid any mis- 
understanding as to the import of these clerical denunciations of 
clericalism, it might be useful here to quote the description of 
clericalism given at the American Press Panel on the first afternoon 
of the great debate: Clericalism was there described as "the in- 
trusion of the clergy in areas in which they have no competence.") 
But to get on with the story. According to Bishop Charbonneau, 
the apostolate of the laity is not merely a remedy for the shortage 
of priests. The laity are not there to do what the clergy would do 
if they could. The laity have a specific role in the Church, through 
their baptism and their place as adult members of the people of 
God. Just as Christ, to save humanity, became incarnated in it, 


so, too, to save the world, the Church must become incarnate in it. 
One cannot collaborate in the redemption of the world without 
becoming incarnated in its structures. The Church must make her 
own all the aspirations, all the anxieties, everything of the world 
but sin. The struggle for social justice, against racism, for peace 
must be struggles with which she is of her nature identified. And 
in the concrete order, such identification can only be achieved 
through the activity of the laity, which for that reason can and must 
be called an apostolic activity. 

Archbishop D'Souza, of Bhopal, India, drew further practical 
conclusions if the Council was to take seriously the active role of the 
laity in the Church. Why should the Church (he asked) be always 
and solely represented by priests at international gatherings? Why 
should not competent laymen be employed in many offices of the 
Roman Curia and the papal diplomatic service, thus freeing the 
priests for their more specifically priestly and ministerial tasks? 
Why should not laymen even be appointed as Apostolic Nuncios or 
Apostolic Delegates? 

"Let us beware of too much prudence (he said). If it leads to 
immobilism, it is worse than foolhardiness. All our talk will be in 
vain unless there is a radical re-organization of all levels of the 
Church. Nothing must be done against the bishop's commands or pre- 
scinding from them. But this does not mean that nothing should or 
need be done unless it comes from the initiative of the bishop and 
is according to his wishes, nothing unless it is explicitly commanded 
or approved by the bishop. . . . Brothers (he asked, addressing 
the assembled bishops directly), are we, the Catholic clergy, truly 
prepared to abdicate clericalism completely? Are we prepared to 
consider the laity as brothers in the Lord, equal to ourselves in 
dignity in the mystical body, if not in office? Are we prepared no 
longer to usurp, as we formerly did, the responsibilities which 
properly belong to them, or rather — if I may express this a bit more 
discreetly — are we prepared to leave to them what is more pertinent 
to them, such as the fields of education, social service, administra- 
tion of temporal goods, and the like? (And he might well have 
added : communications. For it is now generally conceded that 
the lamentably unsatisfactory character of the Schema on Com- 
munications, promulgated by the Council last September, was due 
not least of all because its authors did not include laymen, who 
would have been specially competent in this field.) "Let us not 
forget (the Archbishop continued) that the people of God are not 
a totalitarian state in which everything is governed from on High. 


Where is the liberty of the sons of God? . . . There is no hope for 
the apostolate of the laity if they are always to remain under the 
thumb of clerics. There will be mistakes and difficulties, but one 
of the facts of life is that there is no growth without crisis. The 
Schema opens up a new era and a new spirit." 

This speech, obviously, was strong meat. And very many of 
those present would doubtless have wished for a blander sauce to 
accompany its presentation. And yet it is indicative of the tenor 
of the Council that the speech was given the rare tribute of a 
round of applause. 

Another intervention which met with a similar tribute was that of 
Auxiliary Bishop Leven of San Antonio, Texas: "The Schema should 
more plainly and forcefully state that the apostolate of the laity is of the 
essential nature of the Church. The apostolate is not conceded or 
mandated to the laity by the bishop or the pastor, but is the working 
out in practice of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is the duty of those 
who receive the charismata of authority and administration to 
moderate and guide the apostolate of the laity, but they may not 
suppress it. . . . The Schema should emphasize more the necessity 
of a real and meaningful dialogue between the bishop and the pastor 
and the laity. . . . There is no dialogue if the laity are only invited 
to listen. Nor is there dialogue if the bishop listens only to indi- 
viduals, such as his doctor or his housekeeper, rather than to 
truly representative laymen and laywomen." And his concluding plea 
was : "Our laity look to us for acceptance as full and mature mem- 
bers in the body of Christ. They ask only to be allowed to exer- 
cise the charismata the Holy Spirit has given them." 

A final quotation from the Council floor may be permitted, since 
it was voiced by Archbishop Heenan of Westminster in the name 
of the hierarchy of England and Wales, which had the reputation 
(whether deserved or no, I am not competent to judge) of being 
among the most conservative of the episcopal blocs. Speaking of a 
proposed "Secretariat for the Lay Apostolate" to be set up in Rome, 
Archbishop Heenan said : "This is something which is bound to 
fail unless the laity are fully consulted. ... It would be a disaster 
to model it after any of the departments already existing in the 
Roman Curia. Most of the members of this (proposed) secretariat 
must be chosen from the laity. Let me stress that the faithful take 
it badly if decisions over matters in which they are well versed 
are taken without any advice being asked from them. Before setting 
up the secretariat it is important, therefore, to inquire from the 


laity themselves how they think it should be set up and how it ought 
to be run." 

Summarizing the mind of the obvious majority in regard to the 
Schema on the lay apostolate, Archbishop McCann of Capetown, 
declared : "The laity have been expecting a Magna Carta, and they did 
not get it." But in view of the tenor of the criticism, I think we can 
confidently expect that they will get it in the draft to be revised. 
Nor should the bedeviled authors of the criticized draft be judged 
too harshly. The Schema as proposed to the Council had been, 
under orders, shorn of its doctrinal and more spiritually inspiring 
introduction and foundation — which latter became the universally 
praised Chapter 4 of the truly excellent Schema "De Ecclesia." 
So what was left over was bound to be rather juridic and unin- 
spiringly pedestrian, because there had been no time to re-cast it 
after it had been thus decapitated. 

So it is to Chapter 4 of the Schema "De Ecclesia" that one must 
turn for a more satisfactory statement on the laity, one which 
has already in its general contents been approved if not yet promul- 
gated. And this Chapter is without question the doctrinal Magna 
Carta of the layman and his role in the Church. 

Historians differ in detail about the reasons why the Church 
and her most important activity came in the course of time to be 
identified more or less with the hierarchy or clergy, while a purely 
receptive if not passive role was assigned to the laity. There is 
general agreement, however, that this coincided and was causally 
related to the so-called triumph of Christianity under Constantine, 
and the civic honors and responsibilities heaped upon the bishops by 
that curiously Christian emperor. In other words, perhaps the Coun- 
cil will have historical import, not only because it marks the end 
of the post-counter-Reformation era, but even more fundamentally 
because it is deliberately rejecting the post-Constantinian ecclesi- 
astical polity. Be that as it may, it should be pointed out that 
Constantine's (and later Justinian's) civic exaltation of the hierarchy 
might not have been so lasting and convincing had it not soon 
received a theological underpinning or sanction. 

This was furnished by the Arian controversy of the fourth 
century and its aftermath. In reaction to the heresy which denied 
that Christ was God, orthodox Christianity so stressed Jesus' 
divinity, His transcendence, that His mediatorial role as God-man 
was no longer seen in proper perspective. To oversimplify for the 
sake of brevity: Christ was, as it were, taken back into the Trinity 
as God to be adored, and the significance of His infleshing by which 


He became our elder brother, the first-born of many brethren lead- 
ing us back to the Father, was theologically obscured. The Eucha- 
ristic service itself, the Mass or Lord's Supper, was no longer under- 
stood as the action of Christ our elder brother uniting us in wor- 
ship to the Father; but it became the miracle of divine change, of 
Christ descending, as it were, from His divine throne to the earthly 
altar and effecting this miracle through His priests. These latter, 
then, became the uniquely privileged class, they alone were com- 
petent — and necessary. There developed a clericalized liturgy, which 
soon led to a clericalized sociology. The Mass was not recognized 
as the action of the entire holy people of God with and through the 
leadership of a ministerial priesthood, but the sole preserve of the 
latter. The sanctuary became the Holy of Holies, to which only 
the highpriest, the ordained minister, had access. The laos, the royal 
priestly race, became the "laity" in the sense of the non-professional, 
the second-class, unknowing citizenry, who play only a passive 
receptive role. 

In a word, because the role of the Eucharistic body of Christ 
was so imperfectly understood, the concept of the Church as a 
mystical body also suffered tragic diminution. Obviously, the re- 
tention of Latin as a sacral tongue was a contributing factor ; but I 
think it is correct to state that it was retained and the Eucharistic 
prayer, to which, as Saint Justin proudly declares, all the people 
should respond their Amen, became a silent prayer, precisely be- 
cause it was taken for granted that these mysteries are not for the 
laity. To keep them piously occupied, statues and stained glass and 
the pictorial bible of the poor, plus quite fanciful allegoric interpre- 
tations of the Mass, were proposed for their meditation, and pro- 
liferated. There were also other consequences, whose fruits are 
still with us. Because Christ's divinity, His divine transcendence, 
was so stressed, man could in worship confront Him only as a 
miserable sinner : the resurrection-joy of redemption, the glad con- 
sciousness of being, through Christ, a holy people (i.e., the resur- 
rection emphasis) was replaced by a sin-consciousness that found 
expression in the multiple confessions or sin declarations in the 
medieval liturgy, and which (is it unreasonable to believe?) played 
its role also in the inherited theology of the sixteenth-century re- 

Since, therefore, it had been a theological imbalance finding its 
visible expression most significantly in liturgical practice, which had 
assured both acceptance and permanence to an ecclesiology become 
hierarchology, it was fitting and even necessary that the balance be 


restored by clarifying, first of all, the laity's rightful role in the 
liturgical action. This, too, was the Liturgy Constitution's contribu- 
tion to the ecclesiology that is in process of formulation by the Coun- 
cil. Because the liturgy, and especially the Eucharist, is the chief 
activity of the entire Ecclesia, unless the layman has a part to play in 
the Eucharistic action, a part that is proper to him, that is his by 
inalienable right and not merely by sufferance or delegated privilege, 
the role of the laity in the Church will be lacking of its most important 

We have already seen how the Liturgy Constitution insists that 
every liturgical action, including the Eucharist, is the action of Christ 
and the whole Church and not merely of the ordained minister 
representing the Church. Active participation of the laity is demanded 
by the very nature of the liturgy. The laity have a role to play which 
is properly and uniquely their own. 

Hence the early historical principle of the so-called "distribution 
of roles" in the Eucharistic action, which found classic expression in 
the declaration of Clement's First Letter to the Corinthians at the 
turn of the first century, was formulated anew as a binding law by 
Article 28 of the Liturgy Constitution : "In liturgical celebrations, 
each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should 
do all of, but only, those parts which pertain to his office by the nature 
of the rite and the principles of the liturgy." 

The layman's distinctive and proper role in the most important 
apostolate of the Church has therefore been emphatically restored to 
him. And both the Liturgy Constitution and the subsequent Chapter 
4 of the Schema "De Ecclesia," which deals with the laity and which 
was significantly inspired by the Liturgy Constitution, stress the 
biblical and theological basis of this restoration : the royal priesthood 
of all members of the Church, conferred on them by God's mercy in 
the sacrament of baptism, completed and perfected in the sacrament of 
confirmation, and finding its highest fulfillment in the Eucharistic 
action. A theology of the lay state, as an integral and essential com- 
ponent of ecclesiology, is in the process of rapid evolution in the 
Catholic Church. 

Personally, I am inclined to believe that this will, indeed, be re- 
corded by historians of the future as the chief significance of the 
Council now in progress. The question of the collegiality of bishops 
vis-a-vis the Holy See, however weighty, seems to me of secondary 
import to that principle of collegiality as implemented on the diocesan 
and parish level, and as involving the active rights of the laymen based 
on their dignity as the royal priesthood and as members of the wor- 


shipping people of God. Vatican Council I was the Council that de- 
fined the role of the papacy; Vatican Council II is the Council in 
which the Catholic Church is becoming more truly aware of her 
charismatic role as the people of God, whose hierarchy, bishops and 
priests, fulfill their diaconia to the laity, their ministry of service based 
in love, first of all and most importantly in the Eucharistic action 
which is their common and highest service to God. 

Vatican Council II is, in fact, the first Council in history that has 
explicitly concerned itself with formulating a theology of the lay state. 
It now seems incredible to us that in one of the great theological 
dictionaries in current use, the entry under "laity" simply states : 
"cf. clergy," as if the sum total that could be said of a layman was that 
he was a non-cleric. Chapter 4 of "De Ecclesia" by contrast states : 
"By the title of layman are understood all the faithful who, not or- 
dained in sacred orders or belonging to the religious state, are by 
baptism incorporated into Christ, constituted members of the people 
of God, and, having become sharers in the priestly, prophetic and 
royal office of Christ, fulfill according to their capacity the mission 
of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the world." The 
apostolate is not something adventitious or peripheral. It is not a 
part-time assignment to be undertaken by the more fervent. Rather, 
it is the totality of their Christian life and witnessing, the outward 
expression of their sacramental consecration by baptism, and their 
definitive commitment to Christ, to the Christian community and to 
the world renewed by every Eucharist. Their apostolate is not pri- 
marily a sharing in the apostolate of the hierarchy, as it has been 
defined until very recent times; the Schema "De Ecclesia" quietly 
corrects this still partial and, frankly, clerical view of the lay apos- 
tolate, by stating that the latter is a necessary sharing in the mission or 
apostolate of the Church. And none of the criticisms of the Fathers 
of the Council which I cited earlier, and which were directed against 
the truncated Schema "On the Apostolate of the Laity," which in its 
proposed form had been rejected by the Council, hold good or could 
be fairly voiced against this more developed and deliberate effort in the 
Schema "De Ecclesia" to present a theology of the lay state and the 
lay apostolate. 

And it is this Schema "De Ecclesia," with its superb Chapters 2 
"On the People of God" and 4 "On the Laity," which has been sub- 
stantially approved by the Council of Fathers and will most probably 
be promulgated at the conclusion of the present session of the Coun- 
cil. In a word, the bishops of the Catholic Church in Vatican Council 
II by an overwhelming majority have vigorously championed the 


rights and the essential role of the layman in the Church, and it is 
the ranking clerics of the Church who will officially declare and spell 
out the implications of the fact that the Church is catholic and not 
merely clerical. 

Thereby one of the chief hopes of Pope John in convoking the 
Council will be fulfilled. For on Pentecost Day, 1960, Pope John 
stated that over the spiritual portals of Vatican Council II should be 
engraved this text from Ephesians 4 as its motto : "Speaking the truth 
in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, 
into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by 
every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working 
properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love." 

IV. A Protestant Report 

Robert E. Cushman 

/. The Scene and the Spirit of the Third Session 

On a morning in early October, 1964, I departed for St. Peter's 
earlier than usual. The clattery old bell of the Castle of Sant' Angelo 
rang eight o'clock as I passed along Piazza Adriana and under the arch 
of the medieval wall that still connects the papal apartments of the 
Vatican with the ancient fortress. Down the Via dei Corridori I went, 
past the offices of the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian 
Unity to the southern arc of the Bernini colonnade and the entrance. 
My Vatican passport, bearing the signature of Augustine Cardinal 
Bea, was recognized by the guard with a friendly nod, and I pro- 
ceeded along the circular way among the towering columns of 
Bernini's porch, past the Bronze Door of the papal palace and into 
the vast expanse of St. Peter's square. I noted that, in the interim 
between the second and the third sessions of the Council (cf. The 
Duke Divinity School Review, Winter 1964, pp. 3-19), neither 
the statues of St. Paul nor St. Peter had suffered change. St. Paul 
had not lost his sword, and St. Peter still firmly grasped the keys. 

My intentions that morning prior to the convening of the Council 
were avowedly photographic. Chartered buses, cars, and taxis were 
beginning to disgorge their load of episcopal and clerical splendor. 
In pairs, in groups, sometimes in great waves of purple, the fathers 
of the Council — bishops, periti, and now and then a cardinal — mounted 
the gradual incline toward the gaping portals of St. Peter's facade. 
Moving with the throng, I clicked my camera at will. Pausing at the 
top against the massive front of the basilica I introduced myself to a 
solitary bishop who, like myself, had stopped to watch the on-coming 
host. He turned out to be a sort of summer neighbor of mine. 
He was Joseph Berry, Archbishop of Halifax. An African bishop 
approached. I raised my camera threateningly. Good naturedly he 
protested : "I'm not photogenic !" He stopped. We laughed. He 
was photogenic, and I caught him neatly, wide mouth laugh and all ! 

Now appeared Dr. Lukas Vischer of the World Council with his 
camera and with intent like mine. Then there was William Norgren 
of the National Council of Churches. Shortly appeared my friend 
Father Vincent Yzermans of National Catholic Welfare Council 
Information Service (cf. The Duke Divinity School Review, 


Winter 1964, pp. 20-26). He was accompanied by Bishop Francis 
Schenk of Duluth, with whom I had made acquaintance at the second 
session. Then appeared a friendly neighbor, Abbot Walter Groggin, 
O.S.B., of Belmont Abbey, Gastonia. 

I recount these things to convey to you something of the human side 
of the Second Vatican Council. A momentous event it is in modern 
Church history, but it is made up of people. The majestic and august 
solemnity of the setting, the ceremony, and the splendid ecclesiastical 
attire of abbots, bishops, patriarchs, and cardinals easily disguise the 
common humanity that, in most cases, is just below the colorful 
surface and will often disclose itself spontaneously. It will do so 
in the jostling jocularity of the coffee bars or in the casual renewal 
of acquaintance with periti or bishops in the side aisles of the basilica. 
There is Father Placid Jordan, O.S.B., I met last year, or there is 
Bishop Leo Dworschak of Fargo, or Bishop Hock or Bishop Buswell 
of Colorado. And you may even see Father Godfrey Diekmann of 
Collegeville, Minnesota, taking a "breather" from translation on 
behalf of auditor Mary Mother Luke, conversing now with a col- 
league under the great dome beside the towering papal baldaquino. 

And on the human as well as on the ecumenical side, I wish you 
could have been at dinner one evening in Rome with a group of Ameri- 
can bishops and observers at the Embassy Restaurant on Via Silicia. 
It is impossible to convey in the time allotted the enlarging sense of 
openness and fellowship mutually shared in informal conversation, 
the consciousness of aims and ends in common, the tacit mutual ac- 
knowledgment of the Tightness of rapprochement between Chris- 
tians, and the maturing sense of mutual acceptance without nicety 
or strain. I wish you could have heard irrepressible Bishop Stephen 
Leven of San Antonio, master of ceremonies, the responses of the 
several observers, and the fervent evangelical exhortation of Bishop 
Floyd Begin of Oakland, California. He is chairman of the Ameri- 
can bishops' committee on ecumenics and was chief host that evening. 
He grounded ecumenical fellowship upon the Johannine teaching, 
the new commandment, "that ye love one another." However 
tedious, perplexed and prolonged the way to Christian unity, he testi- 
fied, the way will be illuminated and made plain only by Christian 
agape. What is membership in the Church, he said, remains an un- 
certainty even for this Council ; but he implied clearly that its basic 
criterion is love of the brethren as the surest indication of the love 
of God. That speech will not be recorded in the documents of the 
Council; the sentiment may find only muted representation there. 
But it is worth recording here because it is indicative of the wind 


of the Spirit which is "blowing where it listeth" and inspiring and 
animating a new impulse within the Roman Catholic communion. 

While, doubtless, it would be simple-minded to suppose that so 
authentic a Christian understanding as that sketched by Bishop Begin 
is safely representative of the mind of the Catholic episcopate as a 
whole, it would be perilously dishonest not to acknowledge in this 
viewpoint another sign of enlarging ecumenical concern among the 
hierarchy that was influentially nurtured by John XXIII and has 
been continued by his successor. This aspiration toward emanci- 
pated fellowship among Christians, quite apart from the intricate 
doctrinal questions of unity, is finding increasing response on the 
part of large numbers of the episcopate as it was also powerfully re- 
affirmed in Paul VI's recent encyclical, Ecclesiam Suam, and in his 
opening address to the third session of the II Vatican Council in 
September this year. (See Appendix, p. 75.) 

I believe it is my duty as well as my privilege as a Protestant ob- 
server to the Vatican Council to notify you that the winds of a new 
ecumenical spirit are seemingly gathering force in the Catholic 
Church. I regard it as a responsibility to appraise you of this and 
to suggest that it confronts you as a new fact in the church history 
of our era. If it is so, it constitutes an emergent powerful impulse 
in the ecumenical movement of our time. If this emergent force 
prospers and links itself, however tenuously, with the ecumenical 
thrust of the past forty years that flowered in the World Council 
of Churches, it could in a century, perhaps in a generation, greatly 
alter the shape of world Christianity. 

But let me add this word about the ecumenical ferment of the 
Catholic Church. It is nascent. It is recent, and I venture to suggest 
that its full import and the strength of it cannot be adequately as- 
certained or properly appraised simply by a close reading and study 
of the conciliar documents, forward looking as they are, that will 
issue from this Council. Progressive and reforming as are the declara- 
tion of the Council on the Church, ecumenism, and religious liberty, 
they, nevertheless, do not and cannot embody or convey the en- 
livened spirit, the "new wine," which, I believe, is presently bursting 
"old wineskins" and seeking new avenues and forms of expression 
or better, to mix the figure, more suitable vehicles of its purpose 
and efficacy. In particular, and apropos this point, attention should 
fasten upon those sentences of the schema "On Ecumenism" which 
stress the look toward an open future as directed by the leadings of 
the Holy Spirit. 

It is necessary, therefore, in studying the ecumenical pronounce- 


ments of the Second Vatican Council, to remember that positions taken 
reflect the necessity of adjusting the aspirations of an unfolding vision 
to the tenacious, safe, and even seductive traditionalism of the past. 
For what you have in the conciliar decrees reflects, but does not wholly 
embody, the growing edges of a nascent spirit and an emerging 
mentality. It was loosed by John XXIII, but it emerges encumbered 
by the resistance and lag of centuries and the wholly human fear of 

It is no news that the movements of the Divine Spirit are always 
encountering the resistance of the flesh. John Wesley and Franqois 
Fenelon alike agree, and doubtless against Calvin, that resistance 
to the Spirit of God is always man's possible course. Moreover, 
Protestant theology always has taken seriously the Pauline warning, 
applying it alike to the individual and to the Church : "But we have 
this treasure in earthen vessels." The "earthen vessel" can obstruct 
and stultify the operations of the Spirit. It can delay and frustrate 
the divine purpose. If I may be indulged the reference, the secure 
power of the Petrine "keys" can obstruct and counter the thrust of the 
Pauline sword of the Spirit. 

But while we take these things into account, I think I would be 
an unfaithful Protestant reporter on Vatican II if I did not voice the 
considered judgment that the Holy Spirit is at large today in the 
Catholic Church, and that the Spirit is one of renewal and almost of 
revolution. In Pauline language, I think I see it as a struggle between 
the "letter that kills" and the "Spirit that makes alive." Also, I be- 
lieve I see signs that the Spirit is in process of transforming the 
"letter" and may yet profoundly reshape the "earthen vessel." I 
know that many Catholics do not ordinarily regard the Church as an 
"earthen vessel ;" but, if this reshaping occurs, then I perceive a time 
not far off, perhaps rather sooner than later, when Protestant Chris- 
tianity will be forced, in a measure and magnitude well beyond present 
contemplation, to undertake a radically new assessment of its tra- 
ditional form and manner of expressing the Christian faith in wor- 
ship, in life, and in work. 

II. The Papal Line 

Although I have registered these rather positive general im- 
pressions regarding the spirit and thrust of the third session of the 
Second Vatican Council, it would be foolhardy to suggest that the 
way is now safely cleared for the renewal and assured up-dating of 
the Catholic Church. The crucial document of the Council, that on 
the Church and the episcopate, has been overwhelmingly approved in 


principle. But while I was writing these words in Rome in October 
it was rumored that one Italian bishop had circulated among the Coun- 
cil fathers a full scale refutation, in several languages, of the Schema 
on the Church with extensive rebuttal of the pivotal third chapter 
dealing with the episcopal college. In the process of thirty-nine 
ballots treating the several sections of the schema and involving ap- 
proximately 2200 votes per ballot, a hard core of resistance registered 
itself in number varying from 50 to 300. In general, but not ex- 
clusively, resistance centered in the southern European, specifically, 
the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese episcopates. This has been the 
case from the beginning of the Council. 

The Italian episcopate is, as I perceive it, frantically opposed to 
losing the absolute hegemony of Rome and the Roman Curia over 
world Catholicism. Nevertheless, save for outspoken assaults upon 
the declaration on religious liberty, the reactionary conservatives of the 
Curia and the Italian episcopate have been either notably silent or 
moderate in public interventions in the Council during the third 
session. In explanation, one surmises that a combination of factors 
have assisted Paul VI in gaining a surer command upon the ec- 
clesiastical household both of the Curia and the Italian episcopate than 
he was in fact assured of in the closing weeks of the second session 
of 1963. 1 

As for the Council procedure and operation in the third session, 
it was plainer this time, I believe, that the praesidium of the modera- 
tors was far better organized for the expeditious prosecution of 
business than was the case during the second session. It did not 
have, however, the full cooperation of the General Secretariat of the 

1. Varying interpretations will be and have been placed upon the crisis that 
erupted in the Council, November 19, 1964, and the Pope's part in it. The 
Pope's failure to honor the petition of a thousand Council fathers to overrule 
the announcement of Cardinal President Tisserant blocking a vote on re- 
ligious liberty raises serious questions about his ability to sustain independence 
of conservative Italian ecclesiastical and political forces. It was one hundred 
and fifty south Italian bishops who induced Tisserant to foreclose procedural 
voting on religious liberty. Tisserant secured majority consent of the Council 
Presidents minutes before his announcement. The imminence of Italian general 
elections is involved here and the threat of leftist resurgence. But it would be 
premature to decide that Paul VI, in his decision not to overrule the praesidium, 
thereby capitulated to the conservatives, for to have overruled would have been 
to countermand legitimate authority and lawful presidential prerogative. How- 
ever, it remains true that a powerful reactionary maneuver was successful 
in the last hour of the third session in obstructing the general will of the 
Council on religious liberty. The progressive majority had been taken by sur- 
prise, and their enraged frustration may yet be heard from. The sorry episode 
places in bold relief the momentous and pressing question whether world 
Catholicism can be de-Romanized. 


Council, and signs of resident opposition from within that agency 
became manifest over the week-end of October 11th when die-hard 
reaction attempted, through the office of the General Secretary, a 
maneuver to subvert or emasculate the declarations on the Jews and 
on religious liberty. The first was to be buried in the Schema on the 
Church. That on religious liberty was to be revised by a joint com- 
mission "stacked" with reactionary party men, and both declarations 
were thus to be taken out of the hands of Cardinal Bea's Secretariat 
for Christian Unity. 

This was a surreptitious affair that was out-maneuvered by 
the Secretariat with the assistance of progressive cardinals headed by 
the courageous, quiet, but indomitable Cardinal Frings of Cologne. 
The American hierarchy were furious with Secretary General Pericle 
Felici, agent of the abortive coup. And the resounding negative vote 
on the Schema on "The Priesthood" of Monday, October 19th, was, 
almost certainly, a vote of "no confidence" for the management of the 

Thus, while conservative diehards of the Curia and the Italian 
hierarchy are neither sleeping nor resigned, they are plainly over- 
powered within the Council, and their October maneuver, inspired 
no doubt by desperation, on that occasion "boomeranged" to their 
public discredit and open reproach. Through the intervention of the 
determined group of progressive cardinals, Paul VI was able to con- 
firm the normal procedures of conciliar process and reconfirm the 
Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity in its responsi- 
bility for the emendation and revision of the declaration on the 
Jews and on religious liberty. Thus, with the decisive counter- 
maneuver of the progressive cardinals behind Frings, the most im- 
portant declarations supporting the ecumenical thrust of the Council 
were preserved from emasculation and, perhaps, subversion. Behind 
the scenes in all of this was the master-hand of Augustine Cardinal 
Bea, who, for all his eighty-three years, is as competent a strategist as 
he is profound in his vision of a renewed Catholicism. Yet Bea does 
not, I think, enjoy under the present Pontificate of Paul VI, the place 
of confidence which he held under John XXIII. 

In assessing the ecumenical import of the Council, consideration 
must necessarily be given to the role of the Pope. It is now fairly 
plain to me that Paul VI has been able to hold and implement, in the 
face of a constellation of impeding factors, the aim of Christian unity 
propounded by his predecessor. Although often thwarted, he has not 
been finally deterred from advancing the aims of the Council affirmed 
in his inaugural address to the second session in the fall of 1963. This 


I believe to be true, although there was a period of critical uncertainty 
just prior to and following the terminus of the second session. 

As I assess the data today, I perceive three steady lines of ap- 
proach on the part of Paul VI which, together, combine to support 
the ecumenical thrust of the Council. In all of the Pope's pronounce- 
ments since November, 1963, there has been consistent emphasis, first, 
upon the need to complete the work of the First Vatican Council of 
1869-70 in rounding out the teaching of the Church concerning its 
own nature and structures. Secondly, there has been recurrent 
stress upon the need to perfect the decree on divine revelation ; and, 
thirdly, there has been an undiminished and developing expression of 
concern for the advancement of Christian unity. 

To present fully and evaluate the documentary and factual evi- 
dence relating to these themes is out of the question here. A few 
things may be mentioned. 

Regarding the nature and structure of the Church we should take 
due notice that, with and after Paul's closing address to the second 
session, he has consistently reminded the Fathers that it is their 
business to "complement" the work of the First Vatican Council {Pope 
Paul and Christian Unity, ed. T. Cranny, Chair of Unity Apostolate, 
Garrison, N. Y., p. 46). This was stated when the program he had 
accepted from John XXIII was under the most rigorous attack 
by reactionary Italian ecclesiastics and rightist political and economic 
powers in Italy. In the face of this opposition, the Pope's pilgrimage 
to the Holy Land was a strategic turning of the tide and for reasons 
which I ventured to propound last year. 

Meanwhile, the Pope's published address "On the Dignity of a 
Bishop," June 28, 1964, contained another obvious overture to the 
Council to define the status of the episcopacy. His encyclical Ec- 
clesiam Suam (August 6, 1964) was yet another open invitation to 
the Council fathers, indeed a hardly disguised plea, to define the 
doctrine of the Church. And the Pope's opening address to the 
third session of the Council gave more than half its space to promote 
the central aim of the Second Vatican Council, namely, to resume 
and complete the work of the First Vatican Council by perfecting the 
doctrine of the Church, principally in determining "the constitutional 
prerogatives of the episcopacy." 

While Paul VI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Pontiff as 
defined by Vatican I, it is to be carefully noted that he called for a 
delineation of relations between the episcopate and the Holy See, a 
determination of status of the episcopate as a sacramental order, and 
roundly affirmed that the sacred ecumenical Council has "supreme 


authority over the entire church" in company with the Roman 

In all this, and there is much more, it is rather plain in retrospect, 
that Paul VI has consistently used his influence to encourage the 
pluralization of episcopal power and authority, which he understands 
to be shared with himself by the world episcopate. His own words 
indicate that he desires to redress the widespread impression of im- 
balance created by the First Vatican Council's definition of "the 
primacy." In so many words he denies that the primacy "limited the 
authority of bishops, the successors of the apostles." He denies 
that it "rendered superfluous and prevented the convocation of a sub- 
sequent Ecumenical Council, which," he says, "however, according 
to canon law has supreme authority over the entire Church" (Opening 
Address, Third Session, Second Vatican Council). 

In September of this year I wrote in Together magazine that the 
tide is at the flood, that "the hard and momentous choice confronting 
Paul VI ... is whether he can bring himself to accept the pluraliza- 
tion of ecclesiastical structure and authority as an inevitable con- 
comitant of the Roman Church's now actual, if limited, universality." 
With his opening allocution to the third session of Vatican II, it now 
seems rather clear that, against very great odds, he did accept the 
pluralization in question. It appears that he has been able to hold the 
adopted line and program of his predecessor. His predecessor saw, I 
think, that apart from a universalizing of the Church, there was only 
the continuing prospect of diminishing returns for its apostolate in 
the modern world. To put it simply, John XXIII viewed a Curia- 
dominated Italian Catholicism as too narrow and restricted an in- 
strumentality for the evangelization of the modern world. Or, even 
more plainly, he saw, and Paul VI has seen, that the First Vatican 
Council had inadvertently contrived to make Curial bureaucratic 
Catholicism, as the continuing executive arms of the Papacy, the 
determinative source of Catholic Christianity. He saw that this was 
anachronistic in the modern world and unreliable and even destruc- 
tive of the spiritual vitality of the Church. He saw that the Pope 
had, in great measure, become a prisoner of the regime. Not only did 
the latter presume to infallibility in the administration of Papal af- 
fairs, as representative of the Papacy; it in fact tended, by a kind 
of inner logic, to usurp the Pope's spiritual leadership in the multi- 
farious exigencies of administration. This is why John XXIII 
called for a Council, and this is why Paul VI has now insisted upon 
the supreme authority of the Council in company with the Pope. 


Only through a Council was it any longer possible to subordinate 
to its proper role and function the Curial power. 

Never shall I forget the day Ottaviani in the second session rose 
to reply to Cardinal Frings' ringing denunciation of the Holy Office 
as occasion of scandal to the Church. In his heated reply, Ottaviani 
presumed to warn and even threaten the Council. Here was the un- 
veiling of the Curial mentality in its ripeness. It had gradually 
presumed not only to speak for but, in a sense, to be the Church. 
So far, in the third session, Ottaviani has been mostly silent and his 
closer colleagues somewhat mild and restrained, but, as we have 
seen, they have not been inactive, nor will they do other than die 
trying to retain for the Curia its absolute powers. 

Finally, with reference to the Papal program, I would call your 
attention to the quite apparent indication that the encyclical Ec- 
clesiam Suam is an open appeal to the world episcopate to assert its 
authority and declare its common mind on the unsettled issues of 
the Council. Subtle, but nevertheless conspicuous, is the Pope's 
declination to interpose his own views or to determine the shape 
of doctrinal decisions which he reserves expressly for the episcopate 
in conciliar pronouncement. On one basic issue has he, as it were, 
almost "shoved" the episcopate, namely, to the determination of its 
own place, function, and dignity in relation to the Papacy. I am 
now well beyond need of conviction that the Pope believes, as he has 
repeatedly declared, it to be the crucial issue requiring the settle- 
ment of the Council. It is reported that, when the Council recently 
adopted by safe majorities the crucial propositions on the nature of the 
episcopacy, the Pope exclaimed, "The Council is saved !" At this 
juncture, it now looks as if the Pope has negotiated, with important 
assistance, the treacherous predicament and fearful suspense in- 
volved in inducing the Council to serve the Church by accepting a 
role that he has called "the supreme authority over the entire 
Church." I propose for your consideration the possibility that, for 
those who have eyes to see, you are witnessing a radical renovation 
of modern Catholicism. Paul VI has actively encouraged and the 
Council has finally responded in asserting the principle of primus supra 
pares. The Pope is first over equals, the visible symbol, perhaps the 
source, of unity in the Church. But always to be understood is 
this, that herewith the Roman Curia ceases to be the de facto 
arbiter of doctrine, policies, life and work of world Catholicism. It 
becomes only the administrative agency and servant of the world 


III. The Ecumenical Import of the Doctrine of the Church 

On the opening day of the third session of Vatican II, Paul VI 
said : "The hour has sounded in history when the church which ex- 
presses herself in us and, from us, receives structure — and life 
— must say of herself what Christ intended and willed her to be. . . . 
The church must give a definition of herself and bring out from her 
true consciousness the doctrine which the Holy Spirit teaches her 
according to the Lord's promise . . ." In the time allowed it is 
hardly possible even to sketch the general content of that "con- 
sciousness" which has been impressively forged in the second and 
third sessions of the Council. The subject is vast, and I shall neces- 
sarily restrict commentary to selected issues which may attract 
Protestant reaction. I shall refer first of all to the ecumenical import 
of the controversial Chapter III, "On the Hierarchical Structure of the 

A. The voting on this chapter was already well along on my 
arrival at the third session. In a series of thirty-nine ballots dealing 
with an equal number of propositions, the Council fathers with large 
majorities declared themselves in favor of what has come to be 
called the principle of "collegiality." For many fathers, and es- 
pecially for the observers, the extended voting on Chapter III was a 
period of high suspense. The conservatives certainly made some 
attempt at the last to stem the tide. 

On September 21, Bishop Frane Franich of Yugoslavia was per- 
mitted to summarize objections to the "sacramentality" of the epis- 
copate and the "collegiality" of bishops. He argued that Chapter III 
would set up a new doctrine on the episcopal college as having, by 
divine right, supreme power over the whole Church. This cannot be 
squared, he argued, with the primacy of the Roman Pontiff as that 
primacy is defined by Vatican Council I. Therefore, it makes the 
down-grading of the papal primacy unavoidable. It accords to the 
bishops, although on a subordinate level, the right with the Pope to 
co-govern the entire Church. The doctrine of "collegiality" cannot 
be proved from Scripture and had doubtful basis in tradition. In con- 
clusion, it was contended that, while the doctrine may not be with- 
out probability, it has not reached the ripeness requisite for a present 
decision of the Ecumenical Council. 

In all of this, I think I see "the fine Italian hand" of the Curia 
conservatives. I have it on the best authority that they had tried 
to get Cardinal Cushing to make the speech. It was prepared for his 
deliverance on his arrival in Rome in September. He refused out of 
hand. Probably in order to cover their tracks, the Italians then 


turned to Yugoslavia. But it was too little and too late. Paul VI 
in the opening address had made the unmistakable call for decision ; 
and Cardinal Parente of the Holy Office saw fit, for reasons some- 
what inscrutable in view of his earlier record, to make the answering 
positive appeal for adoption. Parente even argued that there is not a 
twofold power in the Church, but only one — the supreme power 
which Christ conferred on the entire Apostolic College. 

The meaning of "collegiality" invokes the composite of perhaps 
twenty of the thirty-nine propositions. Relying upon paragraph 18 
of Chapter III, I venture to suggest that "collegiality" means that 
Christ willed bishops of the Church to be successors of the Apostles 
as shepherds, teachers, and sanctifiers of his Church to the end of 
time; that the sacramental order of the episcopate is "one and undi- 
vided" ; that Peter and his successors are the principle of unity ; and 
that the successors of the Apostles, together with the successor of 
Peter, govern the house of the living God ; and, finally, that there is no 
ordination superior to that of a bishop of the Church. 

What does this mean ? Well, it would be presumptuous to say ex- 
cept in the perspective of history ! But what it means potentially and 
may mean actually — depending on how it is henceforth implemented 
— is this : It means that the Pope is sacramentally first among equals. 
It means that he governs the Church hereafter more nearly with the 
consent of the governed. It may mean that government of the Church 
will become a coordinate activity of the Pope and a council of 
bishops. It may mean a redistribution and pluralization of power. 
It probably means that papal pronouncements and acts will become 
increasingly conciliar in origin and substance. It may well mean 
that expressions of infallibility in declarations on faith and morals 
will become more nearly conciliar. It means a certain decentraliza- 
tion of power and authority reinvesting it in national or regional 
conferences of bishops. Negatively, it means, as already stated, re- 
ducing the power of the Roman Curia more nearly to that of an ad- 
ministrative correlating agency of the whole Church. 

To be sure, what has been voted by the Council in principle re- 
mains to be implemented. Implementation rests in great part, but 
not entirely, upon the initiative of the presiding Pope. Only time 
will tell in what measure decentralization of authority provided in 
principle can and will be appropriated in fact by the world episcopate. 
There are significant precedents for this in France, the Netherlands, 
Germany, and Poland. For the moment, we have only the vindication 
of the principle of the pluralization and decentralization of authority. 

Now, what is the import of this for ecumenicity ? On this, one can 


only guess. One may suspect that for ultramontane Catholicism an 
imbalance has been redressed. John Henry Newman, God rest his 
soul, must rejoice ! For Protestants, the monolithic ecclesiastical em- 
pire of Rome has received some remodeling. The offense of a mon- 
archial anachronism, belatedly sanctioned in 1870, has been relieved. 
Some relief from the domination of a decadent Latin and provincial 
Catholicism looks more possible. It sometimes even looks as if 
Catholicism may not always have to be just Roman and might be- 
come just Christian ! Who can foretell the consequences of this new 
look? For the Eastern Orthodox, we had better wait and see. At 
the moment, all I can suggest is that, with the adoption of the new 
doctrine of the universal episcopate, the Pope looks more like the 
Bishop of Rome and the primatial patriarch of the See of Peter and 
somewhat less like the absolute and solitary Vicar of Christ. But 
to this new shape of things I am disposed to think "high-church" 
Anglicans are more likely to experience acceleration of the pulse 
rate than will the Orthodox. Do not, however, underestimate the 
long range significance of this alteration. Conjoined with parallel 
actions of the Council, and reinforced by them, the altered style has 
in it the potential resident force of a genuine Catholic renaissance 
and a powerful motivation toward unity. 

B. Adequate treatment of the first and second chapters of "De Ec- 
clesia," on The Mystery of the Church and The People of God 
is out of the question. On the side of ecumenical import I can men- 
tion only a few features of more positive implication. 

First, one notes that the whole treatment of the Church is scrip- 
turally based rather than philosophically grounded. Moreover, in 
line with recent developments in biblical theology, the Church is seen 
as the culmination and climax of the history of salvation recorded in 
the Sacred History. The Church is the kingdom of Christ now 
present in mystery and, by God's power, is visibly growing in the 
world. It was established by the Son of God and is sustained and 
sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Pre-eminently the Kingdom is mani- 
fested in the Person of Christ Himself. But the Church is hallowed 
by His continuing presence in the Eucharist and in the sanctifying 
power of the Holy Spirit. 

Of the Church, Christ is the only mediator and redeemer ; and the 
Council is unsure and rather indisposed to attribute to the Virgin 
Mary the role of "mediatrix," but at present the matter is unsettled. 
Mary is, however, safely to be considered as the "mother of the 
Church" and its pre-eminent member. The Church also is "the 
people of God" — an emphasis both biblical and Augustinian. The 


whole people is called to a "royal priesthood" and is, as a whole, 
endowed with special and diverse graces and gifts. 

There is a distinguishable priesthood of the faithful, on the one 
hand, and of the hierarchical priesthood, on the other. The priest is 
specially endowed with sacred power for ruling, teaching, and the 
administration of the sacraments. While the priesthood of the faith- 
ful is exercised in concurring with the sacrifice of the Eucharist, the 
hierarchical priesthood alone possesses the apostolic and super- 
natural endowment of grace to discharge the office of teacher, ruler, 
and hierophant. Thus it is declared that outstanding, that is, pre- 
eminent among the gifts of Christ and the Holy Spirit is the grace 
of the Apostles. This grace is continuously transmitted to successors. 
To the Apostles and their successors the Spirit subjects the receivers 
of the charismata, that is, the faithful. Finally, the Church is en- 
dowed with heavenly goods, the continual grace of the Spirit. It is, 
accordingly, at once a visible group and a spiritual community. It 
forms a single reality in which coalesce, after the manner of the In- 
carnation, a human and a divine element. 

For Protestants, a few problems begin to emerge which I will 
attempt to state succinctly in the order of their gravity : 

First, there will be some trouble among the non-episcopal Prot- 
estant brethren about the doctrine of "apostolic succession," which 
is spelled out with remarkable confidence about the facts of Apostolic 
history in Chapter III and has been, not surprisingly, fully adopted 
by the Council. Accompanying this is the declaration that tends to 
find in historic succession the somewhat over-confident assurance of 
endowment of grace for every successor. In this regard some Prot- 
estants have, on empirical evidence, found cause for doubt. 

Secondly, most Protestants will have trouble with the pervasive 
assumption of both the Schema and Paul VTs opening address to the 
third session that, in a super-eminent degree, grace is singled out 
for the hierarchical priesthood or that a distinctive dispensation of 
grace constitutes an authoritative body within the universal royal 
priesthood of all believers and that this sets them apart as the ruling, 
teaching, and sacramentally empowered body. From this, of course, 
derives the doctrine of the authoritative magisterium, or teaching 
office of the Church, which now, with Vatican II will be shared by 
Pope and episcopate. In certain contexts and under certain condi- 
tions, this magisterium becomes infallible. 

To the Protestant, this places more confidence in the power of 
Divine grace than its vehicle seems always to assure. It is not that 


the Protestant is not a respecter of persons (he is in fact liable to his 
version of discrimination among them) ; it is rather that the Protestant 
takes St. Paul very seriously when he says of the Spirit of God that 
"we have this treasure in earthen vessels." You might say that his 
anthropology is more dismal, or that he trvists God more and man less 
than Catholic tradition seems disposed to do. 

Thirdly, we are brought to the third point, which is derived. The 
Protestant has a different view from that of the Catholic of both the 
temples of the Holy Spirit, which we are, and the liability of any 
and all temples to defilement. It is for this reason that he is dubious 
about all conceptions of the gift of grace in the analogy of a permanent 
endowment. This is what the Schema "On the Church" has left rather 
unexamined and unaltered as the notion derives from Catholic tra- 
dition. The Protestant is not aware that any person or any insti- 
tution, including the Church, is holy as a capital investment to draw 
upon. The Protestant is disposed always to say that the Church is 
being made holy, that God is sanctifying the Church ; but the capital 
is God's, in His keeping and cannot be surely available by way of as- 
sured quarterly dividends. There the Protestant does not presume 
on any permanent endowment. 

And this brings us to the final point. The knowledgeable Prot- 
estant will agree to "the mystery of the Church." He will agree that 
its visibility never exhausts its reality, that what it appears as is not 
the sum of what it is, for the sum of what it is includes God's Holy 
Spirit and this is in God's keeping. But, just so, he will be very 
cautious about conceiving the Church after the analogy of the In- 
carnation because analogy so easily is transmuted into univocacy by 
the vulgar, of whom there are many. 

The human vehicle of the Church is, in point of fact, not amenable 
to the Spirit of Christ in such measure of pre-eminent perfection as 
the humanity of our Lord was subject to His Divine nature. Accord- 
ingly, the Protestant finds the Incarnation einmaligkeit, that is, ab- 
solutely unique and therefore, alone and uniquely revelation and 
redemption. It views any modification of this absoluteness a temp- 
tation to the domestication of deity or of the Spirit of God. The Spirit 
bloweth where it listeth ! An ecclesiology which understands the 
Church as some mode or manner of the Incarnation will eventuate 
in a doctrine of revelation that finds the latter equally in Christ and 
in tradition. It will, furthermore, tend to insist on locating the keys 
of the Kingdom somewhere. The Protestant is simply unable to 
locate them, because they are, he believes, in God's keeping or because 


there is no real "extension" of the Incarnation. Thus, the Prot- 
estant is reluctant to accept any modification of "the mystery" of the 
Church. For him the Church is more radically a mystery because the 
only source and ground of its life is in God, not in man. 

Now what I have said is affirmed only to help us appraise the 
measure of the ecumenical import of "De Ecclesia" from the viewpoint 
of, I believe, classical Protestant theology. I am far from suggesting 
that the Schema does not entail rapprochement with the Protestant 
standpoint. It does so in its Christocentricity, in its scriptural orienta- 
tion, in its doctrine of the universal royal priesthood of all believers, 
in the Church as the body of Christ, and in its emphasis upon the 
mystery of the Church. But where it stops us, I think, as Prot- 
estants is just exactly in its failure to let the "mystery" of the Church 
be radical. The problem centers, perhaps, in the notion of grace as a 
permanent endowment. Endowments require safekeeping and, ordi- 
narily, trustees empowered to conserve and disperse. This crystallizes 
in its way the problem of freedom and authority. 

Manifestly, this Roman Catholic version is one possible concep- 
tion of the Church. A long and noble and fruitful history proves that ! 
In its principle of collegiality, the Catholic Church has made a sig- 
nificant advance, I believe, in broadening the conception of trustee- 
ship to include a far more representative board. I think we should 
both acknowledge and seek to understand the full significance of this 
transformation that now appears in our epoch. If, however, from the 
Protestant standpoint we are to appraise the import of all this for the 
cause of Christian unity, it is not too soon to begin to ascertain the 
fundamental issues which will have to be faced openly in the 
"dialogue" which Paul VI eloquently described and recommended 
for the days and years ahead. Dialogue is in fact the new word of 
the third session of Vatican II. It is just beginning. Some of us 
have experienced a deep and abiding fellowship already with our 
Catholic brethren. We have been greatly enriched. The eyes of our 
minds have been opened to dimensions of Christian life and experience 
hitherto obscured to us or unknown. We are the better for it. 

And now, in closing, let me remind you of two things : I warned 
much earlier that you cannot measure the emerging power of the 
ecumenical movement and spirit of the Catholic Church simply by 
assessing the documents of the Second Vatican Council. I urge you 
to recall the reason: it is that the decrees of the Council are a re- 
sultant of two forces operative in the contemporary Catholic Church. 
One is the vision of an opening future under the leading of the Spirit 
of love and light. The other is a tenacious backward look nostalgic 


for a glorious but vanishing past. At this moment, despite the critique 
I have ventured, the Council is, I believe, succeeding in turning more 
nearly to the future than to the past and in a spirit of trust, on the 
part of most Council fathers, that would hearten and rejoice you. 

The second matter is this : I do not know if I shall ever again 
revisit St. Peter's square to watch the fountains through the columns 
of Bernini's colonnade or behold with upward glance the massive 
figure of St. Paul armed with "the sword of the Spirit" or St. Peter 
with the "keys," but this I hope and pray — that, in the varied 
course of her modern pilgrimage, the Catholic Church will come to 
redress an ancient imbalance : I pray that she will one day come to 
place as much, nay more, confidence in the Pauline sword of the 
Spirit as, in all these centuries, she has rejoiced, some think too 
much, in the power of the keys. 

What we are faced with, what we shall be faced with in the 
years of the hoped-for dialogue ahead between Catholics and other 
Christians, is the centuries-old antinomy between Petrine and 
Pauline Christianity. The hope of unity depends upon a mutual dis- 
covery that the two are in a relation of polarity, not simply of con- 
trariety. Somehow "the power of the keys" must be truly balanced 
by "the sword of the Spirit," and, I would add, conversely "the sword 
of the Spirit" must be balanced by "the power of the keys." In this 
polarity is the hope of ecumenical advance and, down an unknown 
road, perhaps, the eventual reunification of Christendom. 

V. Prospects of Ecumenism 

Robert E. Cushman 

I. Intimations from Paul VI 

The rays of a late afternoon September sun slanted through the 
high windows of the Sistine Chapel and warmed the bluish tones of 
Michelangelo's great masterpiece, the Last Judgment. From where 
I sat, the man contemplating eternal damnation was discomfitingly 
visible, as was also the sovereign Divider of the sheep from the goats. 
The great fresco left no room for doubt that human life is always 
in crisis that calls for decision. And, in a real sense, the fact of 
our being there at all as non-Catholic observers was evidence that 
momentous decisions are called for in the face of the revolution with- 
in Catholicism precipitated by a Pope, now gone to his reward, him- 
self having faced the formidable issues of his moment of leadership 
of the Catholic Church. 

That afternoon, as the observers to the Second Vatican Council 
sat in a rectangle awaiting the entrance of Paul VI, it was easy to 
imagine the scaffolding and the titan of artistic genius, centuries earlier, 
plying his colors in a colossal effort to discharge his lay apostolate 
to Pope, to Church, and to the glory of God. Now, centuries later, 
strangers and pilgrims, we entered into the immortal inheritance of 
Michelangelo's stewardship of faith in the course of pursuing our own 
stewardship of larger ecumenical understanding. 

It was hardly possible to conceive a more majestic and solemn 
setting for a climactic moment in modern church history. It was to 
be the third meeting of the observers during the period of the Council 
with the reigning Pope — a privilege not regularly afforded the general- 
ity of Catholic bishops. The first meeting was in the fall of 1962, when 
John XXIII asked the observers not to ponder his words merely, 
but to try to penetrate his mind and heart and comprehend the mea- 
sure of his rejoicing in their presence, the warmth of his welcome, 
and the fervor of his hopes. 

Now, this meeting would be the second with John's successor. 
The Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity, under Augus- 
tine Cardinal Bea, had made the arrangements with customary un- 
ostentatious competence. Its chief director, second in command to 
Bea, the newly elevated Bishop Willebrands, was the attentive and un- 
failingly gracious presiding host. Monsignor Arrighi bustled pleas- 


antly, as usual, securing every detail of protocol, and Monsignor 
Dupre, Father Stransky and others of the Secretariat staff hovered in 
the wings. 

Cardinal Bea himself entered, stooped, as it were, with the weight 
of benign sagacity but devoid of all pretense, and took his seat to the 
right of the papal chair. 

At length, Paul VI entered without announcement : restrained, 
composed but masterful, and smiling somewhat shyly or sadly, I 
thought, followed by his attendants. When he had motioned us to be 
seated, Cardinal Bea arose to give the observers both welcome and 
introduction. Thereafter, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Pan- 
teleimon Rodopoloulos, the rather youthful emissary of Athenagoras, 
Ecumenical Patriarch of Istanbul, addressed the Pope on behalf of 
the observers in irenic but somewhat reserved, if hopeful, generalities. 
To this Paul VI responded, reading slowly in French with directness, 
evident earnestness, and disciplined warmth. 

What the reigning Pope has to say on the ecumenical front, 
activated as it is by the Second Vatican Council in its third session, 
cannot be passed unnoticed. 1 He expressed "spiritual joy" in the 
renewed meeting with the observers. In the fact itself he found 
renewed evidence of mutual satisfaction unmarred by signs of fatigue 
or disappointment but, on the contrary, of increasing liveliness and 
trust. An "abyss of diffidence and scepticism" had been "mostly 
bridged over," he declared, and, in physical nearness, there had been 
much conducive to "a spiritual drawing-together" formerly unknown. 
"A friendship has been born," he said. "A new method has been 
affirmed." You may note, said the Pope, "how the Catholic Church 
is disposed towards honourable and serene dialogue. She is not in 
haste, but desires only to begin it, leaving it to divine goodness to 
bring it to a conclusion, in the manner and time God pleases." While 
the Catholic Church is "unable to abandon certain doctrinal exigencies 
to which she has the duty in Christ to remain faithful," she is never- 
theless "disposed to study how difficulties can be removed, mis- 
understandings dissipated, and the authentic treasures of truth and 
spirituality which you possess be respected . . . ." Paul VI went on to 
say, that the Catholic Church is ready to study "how certain canonical 
forms can be enlarged and adapted." All this, he affirmed to the 
end of facilitating "a recomposition in unity of the great and, by 
now, centuries-old Christian communities still separated from Us. 
It is love, not egoism, which inspires Us: 'For the love of Christ 
impels us' (II Cor. 5:14)." 

1. See Appendix for the verbatim address in English translation, page 75. 


As the Pope spoke, the setting sun accented the colors of Michel- 
angelo's Last Judgment. The sincerity of his spoken words was un- 
mistakable and compelling. So also was their tact, their candor and 
integrity. Together we joined in the Pater Noster, each in his own 
language, and before departing, we recited together the Gloria in ex- 
celcis Deo. Such was the common prayer of the observers with the 
Pope as lector. 

Observers of the Second Vatican Council cannot easily dismiss 
the Pope's expression of spiritual satisfaction in their continuing 
presence. It is true, not merely at the Council but elsewhere, that 
chasms of diffidence and pervasive distrust have been greatly re- 
placed by emergent friendships and unprecedented fraternity. From 
the side of the observers, I can corroborate the Pope's impression 
that relations between us, the Council fathers, and the theological 
consultants became, especially in the third session, matters of mutual 
acceptance, one might say almost of expectant normality. Manifest 
everywhere down to the level of the Vatican guards was an atmosphere 
of enhancing trust and enlarging respect. In informal discussion, at 
receptions, and private dinners, lively dialogue replaced hesitancy 
and protocol. Conversation became increasingly unstudied, free, 
and eager and even probing. Amusing, perhaps, but significant was 
a tendency of many observers to identify themselves almost uncon- 
sciously with liberalizing tendencies and spokesmen thereof. 

The fact is that "dialogue" became the fashionable word at the 
third session of the Council. It found a new place in both official 
language and official function. In the interim between sessions, it 
had received not only papal sanction but also development and eluci- 
dation. The Pope's strongest and clearest utterance in his recent 
encyclical Ecclesiam Suam set forth the nature and advanced the 
desirability of enlarging and continued dialogue with non-Catholics. 
Moreover, it was recognized that, by its nature, dialogue presup- 
poses a certain mutuality of respect between partners of dialogue, a 
spirit of openness and inquiry with the prospect of enlarging mutual 

This sustained and quite forthright invitation to dialogue on the 
part of the Roman Pontiff is a remarkable departure from the de- 
fensiveness of late nineteenth-century papal pronouncements that 
warned of the menace and required abstention of the faithful from 
intercourse with non-Catholics. At the same time, Paul VI has been 
candid. In Ecclesiam Suam he has said that "it is not in our power 
to compromise with the integrity of the faith." 2 So also in his words 

2. Ecclesiam Suam, English translation, Huntington, Indiana, 1964, p. 37. 


to the observers he spoke openly of inability to abandon "certain 
doctrinal exigencies" as the price of fruitful conversation. Neverthe- 
less, now that the Catholic Church has entered into conversations 
and taken "the initiative toward reunion," it is prepared to study how 
obstacles may be overcome to facilitate "a recomposition in unity." 
This is a new phrase and worthy of most careful attention. Of- 
fered in the newly enunciated context of "dialogue," it proposes, 

I think, to find a way of advance toward unity that avoids and may 
supersede the offensive and, certainly, naive notion of return to the 
Catholic fold. "Recomposition" is not simple "return." It acknowl- 
edges "the authentic treasures of truth and spirituality" possessed by 
non-Catholic Christian communions. No longer is Catholic truth per- 
emptorily juxtaposed to non-Catholic error with no prerogative left 
to the erring but recantation and return. Tokens, signs and marks of 
authentic Christianity are conceded, however incomplete. Moreover, 
if only truth has rights, then partial truth has also the right to some 

Having granted, then, elements of truth and godliness, some 
signs of the Spirit's working, in non-Roman communions, there is, I 
believe, in the Pope's recent statements discreet announcement of a 
willingness to enter by "serene dialogue" into an era of doctrinal 
discussion and theological negotiation looking toward "a recom- 
position in unity" of the separated communions with the Catholic 
Church. The consummation may be late or soon, but its declared 
vehicle is dialogue and negotiation, however protracted. It is not 
individual conversion but communal rapprochement and recomposi- 
tion based upon an open forum of free give-and-take and not only 
in conversation but also in fellowship of common prayer and com- 
mon social action. The new approach was so plainly set forth by 
Archbishop J. C. Heenan of England at the second session of Vatican 

II that it bears quoting: "The ecumenical dialogue," he said, "is not 
undertaken with individual souls in mind, nor in order to gain the 
better of an argument. The dialogue has to be a sincere attempt 
to understand the beliefs of our separated brethren. It must also 
present and explain Catholic teaching to them. It is a coming to- 
gether of brothers, not an encounter of enemies. It takes place 
mainly between communities, that is, between the Catholic Church 
and non-Catholic Christian churches or communities. It is rooted in 
mutual trust and complete charity." 

From these things I believe we may perceive that, in his con- 
ception and authorization of dialogue, Paul VI has provided a recog- 
nizable method and vehicle of ecumenical endeavor for the Catholic 


Church in its thrust toward the reunification of Christendom. Not 
to be overlooked, either, are many open doors for larger development 
of Catholic thought and action in almost every conciliar document 
of the Second Vatican Council. Through these open doors, with the 
instrumentality of dialogue — and providing the present temper con- 
tinues — the Catholic Church is mounting an ecumenical offensive of 
very great potential influence and power. The Church manifests an 
increasing determination, from its side, to change radically the 
climate of inter-confessional relations. Surely, in the days and years 
ahead, it will require unforeseen varieties of positive, theologically in- 
formed and forthright response on the part of the member churches 
of the World Council. They can hardly ignore the challenge to en- 
counter through continuing dialogue. They were less vulnerable 
with Rome in self-imposed isolation. 

II. The Conciliar Decree on Ecumenism 

Turning now to the Council documents, what is their import for 
the development of Catholic ecumenism ? The limit of time forces me 
to be very selective. The ecumenical import of the already promul- 
gated Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy has been illuminated by 
Father Diekmann, whose role, not only in its composition but in its 
post-conciliar implementation, has been and continues to be de- 
servedly large. From the Protestant perspective, I would underscore 
only the importance of its pervasive stress upon congregational 
participation in worship, the centrality of the Bible in liturgy as a 
teaching instrument, and the indispensability of the preached Word 
to illuminate the Church's celebration of the Word in sacrament. 
The introduction of the vernacular will do more to demystify and, cor- 
respondingly, instruct Catholic worshippers than the majority of the 
Council fathers, who voted for it, may admit publicly. Obviously, the 
attendant adoption of the Revised Standard Version of the New 
Testament by the American hierarchy, making it the common text of 
American Christians, has enormous significance and will be the 
basis of unprecedented communication at all levels. The express 
recommendation of the Schema "On Divine Revelation" that the Scrip- 
tures be read by clergy and laity is, especially with reference to the 
latter, an unlocked door, capable of swinging, one would judge, 
both ways. 3 

3. De Divina Revelatione, Council Document III, 25. 


A. Catholic Principles of Ecumenism 

Turning attention directly upon "De Oecumenismo" and the work 
of the Secretariat, let me say with studied reserve that the work 
leading to the preliminary adoption of this conciliar document 
October 8, 1964, was discharged with fidelity to a great insight, genius 
of administration, and epoch-making and adroit determination. The 
Secretariat itself has been a remarkable working team. When some 
day the story can and will be told about the Second Vatican Council, 
it will center around two very old men and a somewhat younger man, 
the last of whom, in the face of formidable complexities and age- 
encrusted tradition managed somehow to keep faith with the larger 
vision he had received. 

John XXIII well knew that to open the Catholic Church to both 
the opportunity and challenge of Christian unity and the recovery 
of initiative, already completely lost to the World Council of 
Churches, required new and radical vision, extraordinary sagacity, 
and a totally new instrument within the Church itself. Thus, there 
came into being, as the pivotal and nucleating vehicle, the Secre- 
tariat headed by the learned Biblical scholar, Jesuit educator, and 
papal counselor, Cardinal Bea. As confessor to Pius XII, Bea knew 
more about the captivity of the Papacy to the Curia than most living 
men. Affinity there was between his authoritative learning and under- 
standing and the spirit of John XXIII. 

From that affinity the thrust of the Council toward up-dating 
world Catholicism emerged. It emerged against the resolute op- 
position of a majority of the inner ruling circle of the Curia, whose 
mentality was largely unrevised "counter-Reformation" but imple- 
mented by the anti-modernistic decrees of the nineteenth-century 
popes, Syllabus of Errors of 1864, and the unrestricted absolu- 
tism of the First Vatican Council. If Pius IX and Leo XIII had 
denied the right of error, freedom of conscience, and religious 
liberty, for the conservatives of the Curia this was infallible truth and 
the only available platform of Catholic relations with non-Catholic 
Christians. Christian unity could mean only one thing, recantation 
and allegiance to the Pope. In politics, Latin Catholicism had never 
really emerged from feudalism ; and, in ecclesiology, it acknowledged 
no effectually saving action of God outside the Roman Church. Had 
not the Syllabus of Errors condemned even the moderate and humane 
surmise : "We may entertain at least a well-founded hope for the 
eternal salvation of all those who are in no manner in the true 


Church of Christ" ? 4 Ecumenism could mean nothing but "return" 
to Rome, the only course held open by the Dogmatic Decrees of the 
First Vatican Council. 5 What to Rome, then, was the significance 
of the twentieth-century ecumenical movement? From the perspec- 
tive of Vatican I, nothing at all. 

The story of the loosening of this mental straight- jacket would 
be a long one. Its outcome and eventuation is, perhaps, formulated 
for the first time in "De Oecumenismo" of Vatican II and reverberates 
in the Schema "On the Church." From the former a few crucial prin- 
ciples may be noted. First, interest in the restoration of unity is in 
some measure "a manifestation of a fraternal bond existing among all 
Christians." Secondly, "the spirit of compunction and longing for 
unity" manifested among Christians separated from the Catholic 
Church is a work of divine grace. Third, separations from full 
communion with the Catholic Church issued "not without the 
fault of people on both sides." Fourth, the validly baptized are pos- 
sessed of a kind of communion, though not perfect, with the Catholic 
Church. Fifth, the Holy Spirit is the Church's principle of unity. 
This is to be noted in conjunction with the sixth point, namely, the 
life of grace, faith, hope, charity, and other internal gifts of the Holy 
Spirit are found outside the visible Church among the separated 
Christians. All these things, it is said proceed from Christ and lead 
to Him, all of them belong rightly to the one Church of Christ. And, 
in the Schema "De Ecclesia," a certain real connection with the Holy 
Spirit is affirmed of non-Catholic Christians. The Holy Spirit is 
"active even among them with his sanctifying power." 6 

This is a long way from the theory and practice of counter- 
Reformation popes : that dissent from the doctrine of the Church is 
deserving of death. Its presiding principle is that separated Chris- 
tians may be participant also, though deficiently, in the gifts of the 
Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. They are invited to consider the 
benefits of the perfect dispensation of grace afforded through the one 
divinely authorized and truly Apostolic Church. Yet it is allowed 
that, among the separated communions, "sacred actions" are cele- 
brated that "can without doubt really generate the life of grace." 
In this we may see the victory of empiricism over dogmatic idealism. 
Dialogue is now the medium of communicating the excellency of the 
fullness of grace of which non-Catholics can appropriate but a por- 
tion. Irenics supersede polemics, but it is not a deceptive or "false 

A.The Vatican Decrees, P. Schaff, ed., New York, 1875, p. 113. 

5. Ibid., p. 135. 

6. De Ecclesia, Council Document II, 13. 


irenicism," for behind these new and truly advanced positions lies 
the limitation of "doctrinal exigencies" which Paul VI warns the 
Church has not the power to modify. Christ entrusted his Church and, 
therewith, the authorized dispensation of his saving grace to the 
keeping of Peter and the Apostles and their divinely empowered 
successors. The question before us now as before, perhaps, is that 
of custodianship. It is the long-standing ecumenical question of the 
ministry and the means of grace. 

B. Of Religious Liberty 

The declaration on religious liberty or, as its subtitle reads, "the 
right of individuals and communities to freedom in matters of re- 
ligion" appeared as "Declaration One" appended to the Schema "On 
Ecumenism." This was a modification adopted by the Secretariat in 
response to criticism that it was not integral to a statement of the 
principles and practice of Catholic ecumenism. In the 1963 recension 
it had appeared as a fifth chapter. Revised by the Secretariat be- 
tween the second and third sessions of the Council, it was introduced 
on September 23, 1964, by Bishop Joseph DeSmedt of Bruges, who 
had also presented it in its initial form, and for the first time, No- 
vember 19, 1963. 

Summarizing a central theme of the declaration, DeSmedt as- 
serted that "the basic foundation of religious liberty is the nature of 
the human person as created by God. The right to religious liberty 
rests in the fact, that, under the guidance of his conscience, every 
human person must obey God's call and will." 

In his initial introduction of the text November 19, 1963, Bishop 
DeSmedt had presented four reasons why many Council fathers had 
insistently demanded that the Sacred Synod should proclaim the 
right of man to religious liberty. First, the Church must teach and 
defend the right to religious liberty because truth is committed to her 
care. Second, the Church cannot remain silent when half of man- 
kind is deprived of religious liberty by atheistic materialism. Third, 
today in all nations men of differing religious faith or no faith must 
live together in the same human society at peace. Fourth, many non- 
Catholics suspect the Church of duplicity in seeming to demand re- 
ligious liberty when Catholics are in the minority but refusing it 
when Catholics are in the majority. 

Prefacing his remarks with this compelling candor, DeSmedt 
went on to define religious liberty as "the right of the human person 
to the free exercise of religion according to the dictates of his con- 
science." The words have a familiar ring, as if the Pilgrim Fathers 


were redivivus in Rome or Roger Williams had returned to receive 
plenary indulgence from unlikely quarters. Religious liberty, nega- 
tively considered, DeSmedt declared, "is immunity from all external 
force in man's personal relations with God . . . ." DeSmedt's relatio 
was received with applause. So also was the clipped and cogent in- 
tervention of Archbishop Heenan, now a cardinal, on behalf of 
the hierarchy of England and Wales. "We praise and unreservedly 
approve," he said, "the proposals of this Schema on religious liberty." 
He cited the statement of Pius XII that "the common good might 
impose a moral obligation in what are described as Catholic countries 
to respect the freedom of other religions." The world is small to- 
day, Heenan continued, "and the internal events of one nation have 
consequences over all the world." For the sake of the common good 
freedom of religion must flourish in every nation of the world. 

The offensive had been adroitly mounted. An effort to per- 
suade and to allay the reaction of conservative prelates from Catholic 
countries of southern Europe was evident. At that juncture the 
ground-swell of support that actually emerged was not by any means 
presumed upon by the Secretariat. Plausible as might be DeSmedt's 
persuasive view that religious liberty is implied in the very act of faith 
as unenforceable response to a supernatural gift, there was pervasive 
suspense and uncertainty. The Syllabus of Errors of 1864, in con- 
demning "indifferentism," had condemned the proposition that, 
"Every man is free to embrace and profess the religion he shall believe 
true, guided by the light of reason." True, the Declaration states 
he shall now properly be guided by "conscience," and a quite different 
conception of man is envisioned. But religious liberty has no standing 
in Catholic countries, and the Latins did not easily forget that Leo 
XIII had condemned "liberty of worship" as "no liberty, but its 
degradation" unless it is worship which God has plainly revealed and 
entrusted to the Catholic Church. 7 Furthermore, the dogma of 
Vatican I, "that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, 
that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all 
Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines 
a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal 
Church, . . ." 8 is possessed of infallibility, complicated the situation. 
Religious liberty as "the right of the human person to the free 
exercise of religion according to the dictates of his conscience" did 
not immediately appear to square with the prevailing understanding 

7. Libertas Praestantissimum 1888, in The Church Speaks to the Modern 
World, E. Gilson, ed., New York, 1954. 

8. Op. cit., Dogmatic Decrees, p. 167. 


of what the Church had taught generally and some pontiffs of the 
Church in particular. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that the redoubtable and eloquent 
Cardinal Ruffini, archbishop of Palermo, Sicily, was first to speak to 
"vindicate the protection of the common law of our holy religion." 
He supposed it gratuitous to exhort Catholics not to use force in 
effecting conversions. But we should not, he declared, confuse 
freedom, which appertains to those possessed of truth, with tolerance 
which must certainly be patient and kind. "Only truth has rights, 
and truth is one." And, recalling Leo XIII, it was not hard to see 
that the tradition was on his side. Here was a living survivor, flesh 
and blood, of the counter-Reformation, in the afternoon of the 
twentieth century. 

Such a view as this, which justified the Inquisition, has no doubt 
served well to repress religious liberty of conscience for centuries in 
what its spokesmen blandly call "Catholic countries." It was echoed 
by prominent representatives of Italian and Spanish Catholicism 
such as Cardinal Monreal of Seville, Cardinal Ottaviani, the arch- 
conservative Dominican, Cardinal Michael Browne, and Bishops J. 
Abasolo of India, Nicodemo of Bari, Granados of Toledo. 

The declaration was declared a novelty in its substance and in 
contradiction with alleged assertions of Pius XII. Ignored was 
the printed documentation of the decree which, in support, claimed 
the authority of John XXIII, who in Pacem in Terris had declared : 
"Among the rights of men this too is to be reckoned, that he can 
venerate God according to the right rule of his conscience, and 
profess his religion privately and publicly; to this right corresponds 
the duty of recognizing it and cultivating it ; which duty is incumbent 
upon all other men, especially upon those in charge of the public weal." 
John's infallibility was, it seems, not as palatable as Leo's. Even 
more emphatically than Ruffini, Granados of Toledo declared that our 
traditional doctrine has always been that only truth has rights while 
error is treated with tolerance if this is required in the interest of the 
common good. That this is indeed the traditional doctrine of Spanish 
Catholicism few will doubt. It is significant that important represen- 
tatives of Latin American Catholicism did not, in speaking, support 
this inquisitorial line. 

The bishops of the United States stood firmly together in defense 
of the declaration on religious liberty. They had come to the third 
session prepared so to do. Leadership was given by both Cardinals 
Meyer and Cushing. The colorful oratory and unfettered stance of 
the Cardinal from Boston won him a restrained ovation in the Aula. 


He rejoiced that at long last there was opportunity for full and free 
discussion of the important topic. The Catholic and non-Catholic 
worlds, he said, are waiting for this declaration. Taking his text 
from the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence he said of this 
declaration on religious liberty : "It aims to safeguard what has 
well been called 'decent respect for the opinion of mankind.' " The 
question of religious liberty, regarded by some as complicated, is in 
fact simple. It has a twofold aspect: It is first the assertion of the 
freedom of the Church, that is, her divine right to achieve her spiritual 
end, and secondly insistence by the Church on this right for every 
human being. John XXIII, declared Cushing, has outlined the more 
cogent reasons demanding this declaration on religious liberty. With- 
out impugning for a moment the Cardinal's sincerity, one may say 
that it was a politic speech both politically and ecclesiastically. 

With care and cogency Cardinal Meyer defended the declaration 
as conforming to the teaching of modern popes, especially of John 
XXIII. Moreover it is "necessary" to assist freedom of religion 
where it is repressed, to insure fruitful ecumenical dialogue, to assure 
to others what we claim for ourselves. True religion is the volun- 
tary acceptance of the will of God apart from all external constraint. 
Experience testifies that where the state dominates religion, civic 
welfare is harmed, whereas civil welfare flourishes where religious 
freedom is enjoyed. The last point reflects opinion widely shared by 
the American hierarchy. Among the American bishops one may also 
often hear the view expressed that where religion is disestablished, 
religion thrives ; where it has the patronage of the state, it languishes. 

The implication of disestablishment is plain ; it is religious liberty 
for all. Thus, the issue is joined within world Catholicism between 
southern European Latin Catholicism, still committed to the figment 
of "Catholic countries," and world Catholicism long accustomed to 
exist and propagate itself amidst religious and cultural pluralism. 
To the latter group, the Leonine articles on "liberty of worship" 
are theoretically untenable and anachronistic. For the American 
hierarchy, the Church, as the Schema "On Ecumenism" declares, is a 
"pilgrim" in an alien world and better for the challenge this entails. 
Latin Catholicism, nestling in the false security of state establishment, 
still seeks, as Cardinal Rufini proposed, to "vindicate the protection of 
common law for our holy religion." 

Here again is a basic rift in contemporary Catholicism between 
those who have learned that Christ does not need the protection of 
the state, and those, who with the outlook of the Middle Ages, would 
commandeer the succor of the "civil arm." If Catholicism enjoys 


and requires state protection, then religious liberty remains a matter 
of toleration under law. If it does not, then the Church must risk 
its temporal fortunes on the cogency and verity of its message and 
life in a pluralistic society. We may well believe that to enter such 
a society, defenseless save for "the sword of the Spirit" and "the 
breastplate of righteousness," is a part of what John XXIII en- 
visioned in his program both of inner renewal of the Church and the 
bringing of it up-to-date in the modern world. 

We may perhaps perceive that John XXIII was the first Pope 
to break decisively with the Constantinian establishment which made 
Christianity the official religion of the Empire and which has con- 
trolled the mind of Roman Catholicism for fifteen hundred years. 
If so, he created a new era and deserves the title of first modern Pope. 
The question before the Second Vatican Council concerning re- 
ligious liberty is, therefore, fateful above all others. Small as is the 
document, it embodies the answer to the question posed by the six- 
teenth-century Reformation whether the Church, in discharging its 
evangel to the world, shall walk by faith only in the power of the 
Holy Spirit of Christ or by connivance with and support of secular 
power. Although the sixteenth-century Reformers did not always 
perceive it clearly, the import of sola fide was equally appropriate to 
the Church corporately as to the believer individually. 

To some within the Catholic Church who sincerely believe that 
Peter still holds the power of the keys, it has become painfully clear 
that this power can be enforced in the modern world only by the 
"sword of the Spirit." This is the underlying theological issue in the 
continuing struggle within Vatican Council II. A powerful and 
stubborn minority continue to resist. It is very evident that the at- 
tempted subversion of the declaration through the office of the Secre- 
tary General of the Council over the week-end of October 10-12, 
1964, was a well calculated maneuver of desperation, presuming to 
circumvent normal conciliar process. 

The temper of the Council had plainly indicated that reactionary 
Latin Catholicism of the "Catholic countries" was in imminent danger 
of being overwhelmed by a majority of the Council fathers. On Sep- 
tember 25, after three days' debate on the Declaration, Cardinal 
Suenens, the Moderator, proposed a standing vote on the oppor- 
tuneness of closing off debate. A "vast majority of the Council 
fathers," according to the official record, "declared themselves 
favorable." This vote remanded the document to the Secretariat for 
emendation and revision. Fifteen days later the move was made, 
through the Secretary General, to take the Declaration out of the 


Secretariat's hands, placing it elsewhere for emendation and for some 
suitable disposition not wholly clear. It was then that a group of 
cardinals in company with the dauntless Cardinal Frings of Cologne 
interposed and were sustained by Paul VI in their insistence upon 
due conciliar process. 

The final effort at obstruction was adroitly timed for the next to 
last general congregation of the third session. On November 19 
came the vote on the complete text of the epoch-making Schema "De 
Ecclesia," for which 2,134 favorable votes were cast against 10 non 
placets. The announcement was received with recurring applause 
by the fathers. Thereafter, announcement of the final vote on the 
morrow "On Ecumenism" was made by the Secretary General as the 
Schema had been amended and revised by the Secretariat for Chris- 
tian Unity, including the altered version of the Declaration on Re- 
ligious Liberty. Thereafter the most dramatic moment of the Council's 
third session occurred. 

Cardinal President of the Council Tisserant, having publicly 
consulted his colleagues at the presidential table, announced that 
several members of the Council had asked for further time to 
formulate mature judgments before being called upon to vote, that 
the new text of the Declaration is substantially different from the 
previous text discussed in the Council Hall, that this is admitted by 
the Secretariat. Accordingly, it has been felt that extra time should 
be granted and that the concession of this time is not a question 
that can be decided by a vote of the Council. Consequently, after 
the presentation of the report on the document in this morning's 
General Congregation, there would be no vote of the Council on the 
Declaration on Religious Liberty. 

A perceptible sag in the spirit of the Council issued in general 
consternation and erupted into a conventicle that first centered around 
the dismayed Cardinal Meyer and then Father Godfrey Diekmann, 
O.S.B. in the south transept of St. Peter's as Dean W. R. Cannon 
of Emory joined the group. Cardinal Ritter entered the discussion. 
A crowd of bishops and periti gathered. Within a short space of time 
a petition to overrule the Council Presidency was circulating and 
gained under a thousand signatures. The response of Pope Paul VI 
to the representation made by Cardinal Meyer, Ritter, and Leger is 
common knowledge. He decided, and probably in accord with due 
conciliar process, to sustain the majority decision of the Presi- 
dents — however close it doubtless was — to postpone until the fourth 
session of Vatican II the vote on Religious Liberty. It was a critical 
and tough decision to make, but, in fidelity to conciliar process and, 


indeed, to the principle of collegial responsibility and rights the Pope's 
decision was unavoidable. On the succeeding day, the 127th and 
final General Congregation, Cardinal Tisserant took notice of the 
great disappointment of a number of Council fathers, and in the name 
of His Holiness, informed the Council that the Council Presidency 
had agreed to the request of postponement advanced by certain Council 
fathers, that "this request had to be honored and conformably according 
to the Council's procedural rules." He assured the Council that the 
Declaration on Religious Liberty will come up for discussion and vote 
in the next session of the Council and, if possible, will have priority 
on the agenda. At the moment, this is the last word on the fate of 
religious liberty in so far as it rests in the power of the Second Vatican 

III. Ecumenical Prospects in Summary 

In May 1964 the Secretariat on Religious Liberty of the World 
Council of Churches issued a memorandum evaluating the Declara- 
tion on Religious Liberty as revised for presentation to the fourth 
session of Vatican II. It concluded that in spite of some shortcomings 
regarding the criterion of limiting religious liberty the new draft is 
"satisfactory." It was added that, if approved by the Council 
without major changes, "it will notably improve the ecumenical climate 
and the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and other 
Christians." This last judgment hardly needs reinforcement. The 
Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity early came to a like 
conviction. It was, as we have seen, openly stated by DeSmedt on 
occasion of the Declaration's initial public presentation to the Council 
in November 1963. Subsequently, the ecumenical import of the Decla- 
ration was echoed and re-echoed in conciliar discussion. This in part 
accounts for the consternation of many Council fathers over further 
delay in vote and promulgation. 

Meanwhile, the final approval of the Schema "On Ecumenism" was 
given at the 127th General Congregation of the Second Vatican Council 
and the final one of the third session. Of the 2,129 votes cast, 2,054 
were affirmative, 64 negative, 6 approved with proposed changes, and 
5 were null. This was a momentous victory attained over a long, 
thorny, arduous way, conceived in the spirit of John XXIII and exe- 
cuted with imperturbable moral fidelity, wisdom and Christian under- 
standing by the Secretariat under Augustine Cardinal Bea. 

After the successful vote on the fourteen sections of the three prin- 
cipal chapters of the Schema "On Ecumenism," continuing October 5 
through 8, 1964, the Secretariat gave a reception for the observers. 


It was in many ways a celebration. And nothing could be more ap- 
propriate than celebration among those who had, in this sphere, become 
by now colleagues. There was cause for mutual rejoicing and no more 
felicitous way could have been found, nor one of greater ecumenical 
and Christian tact, than for the Secretariat to share its rejoicing with 
the "separated brethren," for a deeper unity with whom it had 
valiantly labored. 

In sharing his reflections with the assembled company, Cardinal 
Bea said, "the very fact that the vote was, one can say, morally 
unanimous is a motive for deep joy and great hope. In effect, more 
than 98% of the conciliar Fathers who were present and voted ap- 
proved the Schema .... This result surpassed by far even the most 
optimistic hopes which we could have imagined but two years ago. 
This unanimity gives evidence that for the future the Roman Catholic 
Church, through its highest and most qualified representatives, is 
completely engaged in fostering, with all its strength the unity of all 
those who believe in Christ and are baptized in Him." Then alluding 
to "the inevitable difficulties" the further work of the Secretariat 
"will undoubtedly encounter," he gave utterance to what one may well 
believe is the unfailing source of his greatness as the leading Catholic 
ecumenical statesman of his day : "God's manner of proceeding in the 
work of Redemption consists precisely in being triumphant by means 
of difficulties and despite the insufficiency of his instruments and their 
weakness, 'in order to show that the transcendent power belongs to 
God and not to us.' " If I may venture a wild surmise it is just this 
transcendent power of God, which Bea honors above the defensive 
tendency to domesticate it, that has made him the chief architect of 
Catholic ecumenism and launched the Catholic Church upon a way 
whose outcome is not known to men. 

Whatever else might be said, if time permitted, would, I think, 
only and manifestly come to this : It is now time for non-Catholic 
Christianity to awake to the challenge which will issue from the Second 
Vatican Council. It is not a challenge that can be ignored. It will 
require searching and thoughtful response. The "Catholic principles 
of ecumenism" will have to be faced, not alone by the World Council 
of Churches, but by the member bodies. The Catholic Church is now 
surely on the ecumenical offensive, and in defining how it stands with 
reference to us, it will force us to define with greater precision than 
has been our wont how we stand with reference to it. 

After four centuries of mutual distrust, remoteness, and the virtual 
non-existence of communication between Catholicism and the Prot- 
estant Churches of the West, the Catholic Church has broken the 


silence as well as the ice, and taken the initiative. It addresses us 
with an invitation to friendly dialogue in the atmosphere of restored 
Christian fellowship and without obscuring the differences between 
us. Sooner or later even in this citadel of Protestantism, the American 
South, we shall have to acknowledge that we are spoken to and that 
a new situation in World Christianity requires responsible answers. 
We shall be faced with some decisions, and what decisions we 
make will be for us an occasion of judgment. It is just barely pos- 
sible, or so it seemed to me, that this was the reason that prompted 
someone to decide to hold the meeting of the observers with the Pope 
in the Sistine Chapel that late September afternoon. We are always 
confronted by the Divine judgment, for judgment is incident to the 
decisions we make in life, in the history of Church and of nations. 
Michelangelo's fresco sets before the eyes this inescapable truth of 
existence in matchless line and unforgettable color. What we must not 
fail to realize is that today we are faced with the beginnings of a 
new era in Christian history. When I returned to Rome this past 
September, I was prepared for disappointment with reference to the 
Council's fidelity to the vision of John XXIII. I returned from the 
Council with the conviction that, despite great obstacles, the Council 
has been able to lay the groundwork for a renewal of Catholicism 
and, therewith, the beginnings of a new era of ecumenism that will 
inevitably implicate us all. 


Discourse of the Holy Father to the Observers at the Third Session 
of the II Vatican Council (September 29, 1964) 

Gentlemen, beloved and venerable brothers ! 

( 1 ) This new meeting of your group with the Bishop of Rome, 
successor of the Apostle Peter, on the occasion of the Third Session 
of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, is a new motive for 
spiritual joy, which We like to believe to be reciprocal. We are made 
happy and honoured by your presence; and the words just now ad- 
dressed to Us give assurance that your feelings resemble Ours. We 
feel the necessity of expressing Our gratitude to you for the favourable 
reception accorded Our invitation, and for your attendance, with such 
dignity and edification, at the conciliar Congregations. The fact that 
our mutual satisfaction over these repeated meetings of ours shows no 
signs of fatigue or disappointment, but is now more lively and trusting 
than ever, seems to Us to be already an excellent result; this is a 
historic fact ; and its value cannot be other than positive in regard to 
the supreme common aim, that of full and true unity in Jesus Christ. 
An abyss, of diffidence and scepticism, has been mostly bridged over ; 
this our physical nearness manifests and favours a spiritual drawing- 
together, which was formerly unknown to us. A new method has been 
affirmed. A friendship has been born. A hope has been kindled. 
A movement is under way. Praise be to God Who, We like to believe, 
"has given His Holy Spirit to us" (I Thess. iv. 3). 

(2) Here we are, then, once again seeking, on one side and on 
the other, the definition of our respective positions. As to Our posi- 
tion, you already know it quite well. 

(a) You will have noted that the Council has had only words 
of respect and of joy for your presence, and that of the Christian 
communities which you represent. Nay more, words of honour, of 
charity and of hope in your regard. This is no small matter, if we think 
of the polemics of the past, and if we observe also that this changed 
attitude of ours is sincere and cordial, pious and profound. 

(b) Moreover, you can note how the Catholic Church is dis- 
posed towards honourable and serene dialogue. She is not in haste, 
but desires only to begin it, leaving it to divine goodness to bring it 
to a conclusion, in the manner and time God pleases. We still cherish 
the memory of the proposal you made to Us last year, on an occasion 


similar to this ; that of founding an institute of studies on the history 
of salvation, to be carried on in a common collaboration ; and We hope 
to bring this initiative to reality, as a memorial of our journey to the 
Holy Land last January ; We are now studying the possibility of this. 

(c) This shows you, Gentlemen and brothers, that the Catholic 
Church, while unable to abandon certain doctrinal exigencies to which 
she has the duty in Christ to remain faithful, is nevertheless disposed 
to study how difficulties can be removed, misunderstanding dissi- 
pated, and the authentic treasures of truth and spirituality which you 
possess be respected ; how certain canonical forms can be enlarged and 
adapted, to facilitate a recomposition in unity of the great and, by now, 
centuries-old Christian communities still separated from Us. It is 
love, not egoism, which inspires Us : "For the love of Christ impels 
us" (II Cor. v. 14). 

(d) In this order of ideas, We are happy and grateful that Our 
Secretariat for Unity has been invited, on various occasions, to send 
observers to the conferences and meetings of your Churches and your 
organizations. We will gladly continue to do this, so that Our 
Catholic organizations and Our representatives may, on their side, 
acquire a knowledge, corresponding to truth and to charity, which are 
a prerequisite of a deeper union in the Lord. 

(3) As for you, Gentlemen and brothers, We ask you kindly to 
continue in your functions as sincere and amiable observers ; and to 
this end, not to content yourselves with a simple passive presence, 
but kindly to try to understand and to pray with Us, so that you can 
then communicate to your respective communities the best and most 
exact news of this Council, thereby favouring a progressive drawing- 
together of minds in Christ Our Lord. 

In this regard, We would ask you now to bring to your communi- 
ties and to your institutions Our thanks, Our greetings, Our wishes 
of every good and perfect gift in the Lord. 

All this, you can see, is only a beginning ; but, in order that it may 
be correct in its inspiration, and fruitful one day in its results, We 
invite you to conclude this meeting of ours by the common recitation 
of the prayer which Jesus taught us: the "Our Father." 

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For Christian Unity 

We thank thee, Father, for the life and knowledge which thou hast 
granted us through Jesus, thy Servant : 

Glory be to thee for ever and ever. 
We thank thee, Father, for thy holy name which thou hast hidden in 
our hearts ; for the knowledge, faith and immortality which thou hast 
granted us through Jesus, thy Servant : 

Glory be to thee for ever and ever. 
We thank thee, Father, for the call to prayer for the unity of thy 
Church, for all who are called by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit 
to devote themselves to the cause of unity : 

Glory be to thee for ever and ever. 
In the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us repent and confess our 
sins against unity : 

For the little importance that we have given to this word proceeding 
from thy heart, "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them 
also I must bring ; they shall hear my voice. . . ." 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
For our controversies, sometimes full of irony, narrow-mindedness or 
exaggeration with regard to our Christian brethren, for our intran- 
sigence and harsh judgments, 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
For all the violence which we have been guilty of directing in the past 
and even today against our Christian brethren, 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
For all restrictive measures unjustly taken against them, 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
For all self-sufficiency and pride which we have shown to our Christian 
brethren over the centuries and for all our lack of understanding 
towards them, 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
For all those things in our conduct and example by which we have 
obstructed our own witness and hindered the work of unity among our 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
For our neglect of frequent, fervent and brotherly prayer for them, 

We beseech thee to pardon us, Lord. 
May the Holy Spirit guide our prayer for unity towards Jesus and 
the Father : Beyond the frontiers of language, race and nation, 

Unite us, Lord Jesus; 
Beyond our ignorances, our prejudices and our instinctive enmities, 

Unite us, Lord Jesus; 
Beyond our intellectual and spiritual barriers 

Unite us, Lord Jesus. Amen. 




1- -^ 



Spring 1965 

A Commencement Prayer 

Eternal God, all-glorious, all-holy, whose quality of mercy we 
have known, with whom in daily labors we have walked, we humbly 
kneel in spirit before Thee in adoration and praise. 

In special convocation we have gathered here — teacher, student, 
parent, wife, brother and sister and friend — in the joyous bonds 
of mutual affection and in the recognition of this high hour in the 
life of men and women whom Thou hast called unto holy service. 

Our hearts are thankful for the trust and duty which we have 
been permitted to bear in these years. We are grateful for the 
sympathy and understanding of all who have given support and 
strength in difficult days, and for those who have inspired a joyous 
song of faith and faithfulness. So together in grateful praise, yet 
each in the sanctuary of his own heart, we offer unto Thee our grati- 

Unto Thee, O Lord, we come with special petition for spiritual 
power, that we may fulfill our service well in Thy sight. We stand 
tonight upon a threshold of duty, poised for fuller opportunity and 
challenge ; yet not in our own wisdom and strength shall we be equal 
to the task, but in Thee and Thee alone we have our trust. 

Forbid that we become subservient to the voice of worldly counsel ; 
keep us to our consecration within eternal wisdom. Raise us up, 
O Lord, as prophets in the proclamation of Thy truth, as voices in 
the declaration of Thy will, as ministers in the exemplification of 
Thy love. 

Receive now our solemn commitment unto Thee, our joyous dedi- 
cation to Thy service. Let us henceforth be found forever faithful 
to Thy truth, and forever assured that Thou whose we are and 
whom we serve art God indeed. Amen. 

Kenneth W. Clark 



Volume 30 Spring 1965 Number 2 


A Commencement Prayer, by Kenneth W . Clark Inside Cover 

The Critical Temper and the Practice of Tradition 83 

by Ray C. Petry 

Toward the Renewal of Faith and Nurture — III 97 

by McMurry S. Richey 

Toward the Renewal of Corporate Worship 131 

by Jackson W. Carroll 

The First and the Last, by Charles L. Rice 137 

The Dean's Discourse, by Robert E. Cushman 142 

Focus on Faculty, by Harry B. Partin 147 

Looks at Books 149 

Published three times a year (Winter, Spring, Autumn) 

by The Divinity School of Duke University 
in continuation of The Duke Divinity School Bulletin 

Postage paid at Durham, North Carolina 

The Critical Temper and the 
Practice of Tradition 

Ray C. Petry 

The subject of my address is "The Critical Temper and the 
Practice of Tradition." This title may suggest the ruminations of a 
crotchety old man set in his ways. What I propose is a reassessment 
of the living fabric of our very existence. My approach will be his- 
torical by instinct and confessional in nature. You will not expect 
me to oversimplify either confession or history. 

Let me present first the last part of my subject. The controversial 
word, tradition, is at root the very antithesis of a crystallizing pro- 
cess. Tradition implies the action of handing over or transmitting 
a deposit already committed for delivery, the act of presenting or 
surrendering something to another. Presumably, one may "hand 
off" in the wrong way or place the deposit in the wrong hands. 
Traditores, or early Christian traitors, did precisely that. 

Christian history no less than football is replete with good and 
bad passes from center. There are bullet-like aerials and wobbly 
forwards, broken carries and open field runs, swivel-hipped jaunts 
and "piled-up" receivers. Brilliant passers are sometimes "swarmed 
under" before they can get the ball away. Lonesome ends frequently 
have too much company. Goal line stands nullify long, down-field 
marches. Occasionally there are grievous penalties and plays called 
back. Not infrequently the ball is fumbled, booted, or tossed away. 
The sports field and the Christian arena both know well facilitated 
transmission and stalled tradition. If I mix history with athletics, 
it is not because I am especially fond of big-time sports, any more 
than St. Paul was. I merely note a grim irony. Some people who 
cheer tradition in the stadium cannot differentiate an "offside" penalty 
from a touchdown play, when these occur in the jerky propulsion of 
Christian history. 

Such history unfolds in direct relation to the living transmission 
of deposits of the faith. These are the exercises of worship, the 
proclamation of the good news, the handing down of instruction, the 
projecting of precious beliefs and customs, as well as the investing of 
all capital stock of the spirit. We are prone to say that Jesus 

The annual Faculty Lecture, delivered on April 21, 1965. (See p. 142.) 


"blasted" tradition. What he actually did was to "blast off" by- 
way of genuine tradition when pesudo-tradition was stalled. The 
parable of the talents is a commentary on tradition : the miserly pro- 
tection of assets at the cost of non-investment, or risk-taking ad- 
vance by way of varying degrees of commitment. 

I am fully aware that my Biblical exegesis and my highly per- 
sonalized translations are often the despair of students and professors. 
Yet I have the strong feeling that, if we can quote the words of 
Jesus with exactitude and not be reminded of something that has 
just happened in the family field of action or on the hearth of the 
soul, we are in the "fix" where the disciples often found themselves. 
We are still puzzling out the signals when the whistle registers the 
end of the play, down field. 

Obviously, tradition involves both deposit and transmission, a 
receiving and passing on of a cherished legacy — not just faking with 
empty hands. Practicers of the Christian tradition must join the 
hand-and-heart brigade that relays the bequests of the faith down 
through the historic ages. In a sense, my very phrase, the practice 
of tradition, is tautological. A tradition that is not practiced is not a 
tradition. Jesus makes this point for many good people. They can 
talk a knot out of a board fence, but all they convey is stale air set 
in motion through an embarrassed knothole. Of such people Jesus 
said, "Practice what they preach but don't imitate what they do — 
or, more often, don't do." A doctor has a practice only when he 
practices. A true tradition involves an infinitely variable applica- 
tion of procedures to purposes, of means to ends. The subtle factors 
involved in the Christian tradition include the discovery and appro- 
priation of transmissible content, also the well-articulated receptivity 
that transforms butter-fingered fumbling into close-knuckled handing 
on. There must also be poised retentiveness until the moment and 
the method join for explosive or subtly nuanced transmission. All 
of this requires a nice combination of free wrist action and well- 
belted viscera. Necks should be more suited to bending than to 

Put in automotive terms, tradition calls for a flexible power 
train, good torque to the wheels, a firm suspension and adequate 
room for people and luggage. Roaring exhausts and screaming tires 
are for young exhibitionists and old fools. But I forget. Many of 
you don't know any more about cars than you do of church history. 
That compounds the felony of inexcusable ignorance. According to 
Divinity School statistics, some here have closer liaison with the 
begetting, carrying, delivering, nurturing, and being educated by 


babies than with any other endeavor. Good enough ! Here is tradi- 
tion indeed : deposit, transmission, and much more. I can just 
hear some of you chortling that this is where you are proved authori- 
ties, whereas the old professor is a bumbling ignoramus. This could 
be two mistakes for you in just two tries. 

I often had to care for my infant brother. This was research 
for which I had not registered. All the findings were unscheduled 
and rather uniformly disheartening. Decades later, in a moment of 
low respiration, I promised a friend to baby-sit for her one-year-old 
boy. She and my wife needed to get out for just a half hour — or so 
they said. That, my friends, was a historic occasion. Tradition never 
limped more haltingly than then. That little monster was universal 
history in kit form. He, personally, recapitulated Adamic disaster 
with full millenial overtones. He seemed happiest when at his worst. 
He was a loose package of spontaneity sharing his all with me. My 
wife and friend returned hours later when the baby and I were 
in extremis. Far from offering help, they broke into unrestrained 
laughter. My wife, who knew her English Bible as well as some 
Anglo-Saxon and considerable Latin, settled for a blasphemously 
irrelevant citation about "one's putting his hand to the plow and not 
looking back." What I had hold of was no plow. I would gladly 
have exchanged my squirming complex of soft incoordination for 
the steel plow-share of my rural boyhood. The most infuriating thing 
of all was not that I didn't get my wife's point but that I did. 
Sometimes, in the midst of violated nerves and spiritual rebellion, 
one has to finish, alone, the task he has begun, no matter how many 
other hands may lend assistance or withhold their aid. 

I have read afresh with sharpened anguish in these recent months 
those quietly implacable words of Jesus: "He that putteth his hand 
to the plow and looketh back is not fit for the Kingdom of God." 
But how can one, by himself, keep the plow cutting deep and true 
in the furrow of tradition where two pairs of hands once steadied 
the forward thrust? Often, in my boyhood, I have seen a farmer 
take a quick look back to note if his furrow were straight. Just then 
the plow hit an obstruction, jumped from the furrow and dragged him 
off course. Will God in His mercy help us to the end of the furrow 
if we look resolutely ahead? May He not, perhaps, delegate a loved 
one out of the burgeoning church triumphant to help beckon us on 
unswervingly to the far end of the field? 

Down through Christian history the deposits of faith and love 
made by Jesus have been delivered in a practicing tradition. His was 
the genuine tradition received of God and placed in the keeping of 


Christ's followers. All graces delivered to him by the Father have 
been passed on to us for unfaltering delivery by us against that 
Great Day. How poignantly on that night in the Upper Room were 
the cup and the bread delivered unto his disciples, to be perennially 
recommitted through the faithful until he should come again ! How 
ringingly the plow popped from the furrow when Judas the traditor 
practiced tradition by betrayal with a kiss ! How tragically Peter 
fumbled the commission of his Lord, only to recover it bravely and 
recommit it to eternity ! 

But how can there be any practice of the true Christian tradition 
without continuously invoking the critical temper? To the naive and 
unsophisticated, to be critical is to be negative and petulant, if not 
worse. Yet the very terms, both Greek and Latin, on which genuine 
criticism is based convey the sense of exercising careful judgment, 
of being exact and nicely judicious in one's continuing assessment of 
behavior and experience. Being a true critic means being able to 
judge and discern with propriety and cogency. What is needed is 
one who can express reasoned opinions and experienced wisdom on 
any matter involving judgments of value, Tightness, truth, and 
beauty. Weighing historically and critically a live or eviscerated tra- 
dition calls for judicial estimates and decisions, hence the capacity to 
comprehend and expound what worths and verities are at stake. 

The practice of the Christian tradition comes down, finally, to 
our truly critical appraisal and discerning appropriation of it. Just 
as there is no tradition without the practice of it, so there is no 
practice of tradition without the proper application of the validly 
critical temper. The divining and empowering exercise of that in- 
dispensable critique is made available to us in the Gospel. Hebrews 
4:12 puts it thus: "For the message (or Logos) of God is a living 
and active force, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing 
through soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and keen in judging 
the thoughts and purposes of the mind." The judging and discern- 
ing here invoked is, in the Greek and Latin, the very critique sup- 
plied by the well tempered Gospel. Here is a finely tempered blade 
nicely fired and honed to the will of the Eternal and to the dedicated 
resources of the human. Here the laminated structure of human 
tradition must be forever separable and renewable by the all-dis- 
cerning and unifying Word of Truth. 

Jesus nicely embodied this dividing and distinguishing Word in 
his historic pastorate. He explicated it in his every testimony to 
the Father's initiative and the Spirit's ministry. The integrity of the 
true godly tradition was spelled out by him in every differentiating 


circumstance of resolve and dedication. His historic Word like 
his cosmic Lordship was found to be an incising blade that opened 
festering sores. It was a healing knife that separated truth from 
error, good from evil, pose from innocence. 

Repeatedly, his delivery of the Father's Word registered the 
practice of authentic tradition. This was in contradistinction to the 
rotting fabric of fake tradition upon which men prided themselves. 
"You hypocrites," he said, "for the sake of your tradition you con- 
trol the private plays that insulate the message of hope from the 
hearts of men. The cup that should be filled and passed on to the 
corporate edification is polished until it gleams outside, even while 
decay multiplies within. Woe to you academic professionals, whose 
proud fundaments lop over the elevated seats of the mighty. Actually, 
you are like graves that swallow life rather than reservoirs that 
release it. Your conception of passing on the Father's grace is to 
load some poor soul with burdens that oppress his spirit and stall 
his delivery of the Father's commission of love. You have taken 
away the key of knowledge. You are too proud to enter the King- 
dom yourselves, yet you block the passageway to it for those who 
yearn to find it." Jesus thus passed judgment on the malpractice of 
tradition. He indicted broken transmission and violated deliverance. 
His was a pure critique and an oh-so-practical judgment of a rup- 
tured tradition. 

All judgment has been given by the Father to the Son. The 
Logos is, Himself, the model and the resource for those who would 
exercise true discernment in the practice of the Christian tradition. 
To be skilled in judging is to be an honest critic of tradition while 
practicing it. One needs first, and always, to practice the presence 
of God. This is to take the deliberate risk of examining critically 
under the species of eternity who we are and what we do, while we 
are being and doing it. To be over-preoccupied with self-examina- 
tion, however, is to let the chisel of indecision jump into our sinews 
and cut the nerve of action. Not to examine and discern the nature 
of our being and doing is to reduce all our days to the nicety of 
accumulated shavings. 

My father was a good carpenter as well as a competent elec- 
trician and a discomfiting preacher. Once he was holding an auger 
in his lap. That was no place to perforate a board. He got careless 
and the revolving point chewed deep into his groin. My mother 
despaired of his life, but he lived to run power saws according to, 
and across, the grain, for the making of a productive tradition. If 


he were to come into this room today, I would walk out proudly 
with him, whatever visiting dignitary might be waiting. 

More recently a fourteen-year-old friend of mine doing shop 
work sawed off the end of his finger. Looking foolishly at it where 
it fell, he wondered if it might not possibly belong to someone he 
knew. He replaced the bone in the pocket of flesh and took it along 
to the hospital. The surgeon sewed it back on. The bone knit 
tightly. Today there is a little white circle to show where the tradi- 
tion staggered and resumed its way. Both my father and this 
youngster learned that dynamics need tempering with judicious di- 
rection. The Gospel that we so blithely aim at the untutored can 
skip into our own vitals and drain out all the marrow from our 
bones. Or, we may get self-conscious over deliveries and end wheels 
up, heads down in the ditch. 

I well remember, as a boy, teasing my mother to come out and 
watch me ride my new bike. Then I begged her to suggest an 
itinerary for me. "Go down to Grandpa's," she said. "What shall 
I take along," I replied. "Just get yourself there," she retorted. But 
I persisted. She handed me a jar of butter and a packet of sac- 
charine. Off I wobbled, balancing the butter and sampling the sac- 
charine. She got critical. I lost my temper. My unsecured trousers 
caught in the sprocket. The tradition was interrupted. My fist landed 
in the butter; the idly spinning wheels landed atop me in the ditch. 
Reviewing my pilgrim's progress, she had several observations to 
make — all critical and strongly Biblical. 

There was another occasion when the critique of tradition erupted 
from a five-months-old, nineteen-pound infant I was carrying. She 
was Sally Jane, my grand niece from Colorado. I plucked her 
off the Indiana plane at O'Hare field snuggled in what my wife 
habitually termed a sugar scoop. She fitted that thing like wet feet 
in a cheap pair of new shoes. She peered at my beard out of the 
silkiest lashes I have ever seen on a female involvement, young or 
less young. We walked a mile or two, I thought, and she held her 
fire, flirting and cooing to set me up for the kill. Then we had dinner. 
I bought her mother a steak and I had some soup. Since the first 
of the year I have become a connoisseur of soups and custards. 
We propped Sally Jane up between us. I tried to administer her 
bottle with my left hand while I sipped spasmodically with my 
right. But my delivery arm sagged, and she sucked air. She dug a 
well-flexed foot into my ribs. I sprayed soup like bug killer in June. 
Her mother choked on her steak. After that I kept the pipe line 
open, while Sally Jane eyed me warily, as good critics will. 


Later, we set out for another mile, by my pedometer, to the end 
of the terminal. Sally Jane "had had it." I scorned carrying her 
over my shoulder like tail-end kids in an overloaded station wagon. 
So I bore her transverse to traffic — and protestingly recumbent. 
She couldn't "burp" in that position, and my arms ached with making 
history. Just then she let out a shrill wail like a supercharger on 
an old Duesenberg. Mothers in Israel doubled up laughing — out 
loud, I suppose, though I couldn't hear anything but Sally Jane. 
Sleeping sailors slid off benches and poured below decks like water 
suddenly released in a stopped-up sink. Sally Jane's mother, whom 
I used to minister to when she was a very little girl herself, strode 
along beside us offering such comfort as she could. "Don't let this 
bother you, Uncle Ray," she shouted. "It's nothing personal. She's 
tighter than a tick and she hates not seeing where she's just been or 
where she's going. She'll exercise her lungs 'till she's tired. Then 
she'll 'burp,' if you let her, and go fast asleep. You'll see." Which 
I did, in a bleary sort of way, when I had delivered her to the 
Denver jet. She "burped" ecstatically, yawned like a camel, shook 
the tears out of her ears, fluttered her lashes forgivingly and — slept 
like a baby. Here, then, was live tradition indeed : something beyond 
price accepted for delivery out of the past and handed on in faith 
to the future. And a realistic critique went with the tradition prac- 
ticed. The impact was Biblical : a luminous page of history footnoted 
to Heilsgeschichte. 

There are many ways of practicing the Christian tradition. One 
may live it confessionally. He may argue for it logically and philo- 
sophically. He may contend for it as a true martyr apologist. Who 
could be foolish enough not to sing it liturgically ? Perchance one 
needs to reexamine and restate it theologically. Ought he not in- 
volve himself in it vicariously, by way of history and poetry? Pre- 
sumably he could preach it and teach it. He might make it breathe 
more freely in art than in syllogisms. But discern it, critically, he 
must. In terms of it, all his living "yeas" and "nays" must be reg- 

Jesus was always a sharp cross-examiner. He demanded that his 
witnesses renounce sheer equivocation. You might say that he re- 
minded them of being under oath not to swear. He taught them not 
to reiterate vainly, but valiantly to affirm. One had to face up to 
"yes" and "no." Not that he made a fetish of these words as such. 
None knew better than he that an over-simplified "yes" often means 
"no" and a facile "no" sometimes ends up as "yes." 

My mother frequently asked me if I wished to help her by mind- 


ing the baby; to which I said "yes." Later she invariably inquired 
if I had irritated my brother; to which I testified "no." I lied both 
times. He often put me through ordeal by blackmail. That is, to get 
his way he regularly held his breath until he was an indigo blue. 
I waited each time until I feared he had expired. Then I prayed God 
to let him get back his breath, for which boon I offered to do any- 
thing my brother desired. Hearing this commitment, the darling 
infant would recover his wonted color and ease off into an instan- 
taneous respiratory calm. In retaliation, I loved to wheel him over 
a bumpy crevice in the walk where a little water pipe demurely lay 
not quite flush with the concrete track. Blissfully trundling him along 
I appeared sacrificially devoted to his every wish. Suddenly he 
would become enraged. That pipe triggered a vibration in his 
sternum that registered in his voice box. There was, to him, a 
noticeable break in his tradition. My mother finally deduced the 
unusual incidence between one spot in our trajectory and the simul- 
taneously generated wrath of my brother. She investigated. Then 
she brought swift self-knowledge to the seat of my conscience. 

Sometimes it is truly difficult to make unequivocal answer to the 
enigmatic gospel Word. There is such a thing as denial by affirma- 
tion. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. So, too, there is affirmation 
from deep inside denial. Peter outlived his betrayal of the Lord 
with a living death and a deathless life. In Jesus' parable one said 
"no" to a father's call, but practiced "yes." Another said "yes, to 
be sure," but rendered up a living refusal. Some, Jesus said, would 
meet him one day saying, "Lord, Lord, how nice to see you again. 
Remember when we met at Eden Rock in the symposium on the 
Judeo-Christian tradition?" To which he would reply, "I never 
set eyes on you in my whole life." Periodically, one needs to sink the 
nail of dedication without a vain flurry of blows. My father used 
to wince while I worried a nail home. The tortured surface of the 
board reminded him of a baby's bed made up by an elephant. There 
is a place and a time for a surcharged, unequivocal "yes" or "no." 
Again the gospel alternator registers both "yes" and "no." There is 
no betrayal quite like an oversimplified affirmative or negative. On 
occasion, the subliminal spirit records a double negation or a dual 
affirmation; as when one barters away Christ and neighbor in the 
same breath, or embraces both almost unaware in ministry to the 
least. The tradition of sic et non is not exclusively that of Abelard, 
or Gratian, or Thomas. It is integral with a critical assessment of 
the whole Christian tradition. 

Ours is the privileged duty of applying the critical temper to 


daily enterprise. We come to the moment of truth quickest at one 
specific juncture. This is where the Christian commitment via the 
well-tempered Gospel discerns the living paradoxes of the historic 
faith. The Gospel penetrates between the marrow and joints of four 
seemingly contradictory roles of historic Christian service. The 
evangelical critique cuts, first, like a healing knife between Ministry 
and Primacy. Second, it slices to the bone between layers of Sta- 
bility and Wayfaring. Third, it neatly divides the word of truth 
between Regularity and Secularity. Fourth, the Gospel blade dis- 
engages and reknits the sinews of Vicariousness and Curacy. Put in 
terms of our profession of Divinity, these embarrassing paradoxes of 
the Christian tradition hold us in agonizing, historic suspension. We 
emerge now as Ministerial Primates ; again as Stable Wayfarers ; 
not least as Regulated Seculars ; finally as Ailing, Vicarious Physi- 

Jesus loved to insist that he came not to be ministered unto but 
to minister. For him, primacy in ministry put the least first and the 
first last. Christian history records perpetual embarrassment over 
the unanimity with which Christians agree to this on principle but 
bungle it in practice. A Ministerial Primate is something of a 
cross between a Dachshund and a Great Dane. His rear quarters 
are an illustrated lecture on humility, fit to go through a low wicket. 
His front end can stand erect in nothing less than a lofty cathedral. 
A Ministerial Primate hints eloquently of a historic contradiction. 
A primate is an original who has primacy or precedence. To people 
who protest that this is no way to prove servitude he may explain 
that all his advanced degrees are in humility. Then he runs the risk 
of having some poor soul take him at his word. Church history 
could almost be summed up in terms of such upstanding lowdown- 

There are some ministers who take refuge in their historical 
primitivity. One can't be upbraided, surely, for being a primary, 
underived, pristine, aboriginal Christian. But genuine primitives have 
always been a rather jumpy lot, whether people or works of art. 
Frequently they have no more sophisticated rationale than Grandma 
Moses or the Twelve Apostles. At state functions some of the 
disciples were always getting up just when others were sitting down. 
It will take quite a spate of Ph.D. dissertations to make clear to us 
just what Grandma Moses thought she was doing. We are now 
waiting on the computer to get an authoritative list of St. Paul's 
publications before we can credit him with them properly in his 
Festschrift. As for unquestioned originals, personal or artistic, many 


of them are now proving to have been fakes. A recent court case 
involving Stradivarius violins and the penalty for copying them ended 
in a mistrial. Some of the instruments used for normative refer- 
ence turned out to be twentieth-century. 

Actually some people prefer resplendent copies to worn originals, 
literary or human ; or even smudged mimeographs to primary texts 
or plates, whether in literature, art or hierarchy. There are oc- 
casional churchmen who say, "What need to prove ministry if you 
have rank?" Others retort that there is no need to test status if one 
offers genuine ministry. But what actually constitutes ministerial 
authenticity and spiritual primacy? One can say all the right words, 
do all the proper things, and still be a "phony." Again, one's accent 
may embarrass everyone, his actions may humiliate his brethren, 
and the Lord may recognize him as a true, untouched original. Try 
too hard to be pristine and you may be merely antiquated. Rely 
on sophisticated advice and you may end up with Simon Magus. 

A piece of twelfth-century sculpture depicts St. Peter looking 
calmly on while Simon tries his first solo flight. When the Great 
Magician crashes, Peter isn't even gloating. He has already flunked 
out of flying school himself. Perhaps, if we only understood the 
proper role of hierarchy, we could all settle down to work again. 
But that term can mean priest craft, and that's a "dirty word." 
Even our Roman Catholic brethren vacillate between being happy 
that they have hierarchy and feeling distressed at the thought that 
it may have them. The fact is that Jesus critically subjected every 
would-be minister to the daily practice of a paradoxical tradition. 
Such crisis testimony was deliverable only with the aid of the 
marrow-proving Gospel. Professional primates are available only 
at a terrible cost in marked down, ministerial good news. Perhaps 
what we need is a desegregated clergy that can share both ministry 
and primacy with a newly-commissioned, responsible laity. 

Our embarrassment knows no abatement when we examine our 
historic role as Stable Wayfarers. We have often brought rhetorical 
tears to literary eyes with glib talk about our being colonists of 
heaven, those manning advance space stations for the Kingdom of 
God. There are people who think colonialism of any kind, perhaps 
even the ecclesiastical, has finally gone out of style. St. Augustine 
of Hippo puzzled quite a few construction engineers in his day. He 
claimed Biblically that our foundations are in heaven, though we 
help build an interim city upon them while here below. The Chris- 
tian viator tradition seems good only for indirect lighting upon the 
more realistic space programs of the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. 


Everybody votes for stable flight inside space ships or outside. But 
Pilgrim Citizens ! Who can build a community chest around them ? 
And Hobo-Settlers! Who wants them to open a suburb? A Squat- 
ter is a Squatter — for a' that. Besides, emigres are always munching 
sandwiches and leaving crumbs in the powder room. Is not the 
viaticum chiefly for dying people ? Whereas we are in love with life. 

That a Christian eschatology is the clue to all worthwhile social 
thought and action is hardly a thesis to make books sell. I know 
one such work that was taken off the publisher's list just before my 
wife died. Now I must re-read it to see what I once wrote, as if 
I understood it, before she embarked on her final flight. One day in 
February she complained to me about the bumpiness of an old DC3 
we were flying from Purdue to Chicago. Yet, when in Duke Hospital, 
on February 18, I bid her fair passage to the Father's House and 
all the kinfolk above, she made no complaint. She spoke no word 
at all. She had already committed herself in full obedience to the 
heavenly vision. She had long since booked her passage and, I 
trust, received confirmation of her reservation. The ceiling was 
unlimited. Before God, I believe that the rudder of her pilgrim 
creed held true and the fuselage of her tradition sailed clean and 
whole into that far port. Yes, our very stability is in our journeying 
itself. But our mobility must and will not be domesticated, overmuch. 
Viators all, we have not been grounded like exiles from heaven. 
Rather, as those in the world but not of it, we journey with sublime 
patriotism to a beloved homeland. Orbiting a while in temporal 
climes, we confidently prepare for reentry to our native atmosphere. 
Ars moriendi et vivendi: the art of dying and living — it is all one. 
This is what we assure people with whom we sorrow, as those not 
without hope. Can we as a profession sing the viator's victory song? 
A number of you sang it with me not long ago. While our eyes 
rained tears, our hearts pumped the lifeblood of Christian triumph. 
Tears also have their part in critically tempering our practice of the 
Stable Wayfarer's tradition. They help wash away the impurities 
that becloud our vision, the self-pity that compromises our discern- 
ment. Sorrow is the nighttime bed of temporal pain from which 
eternal joy arises in the morning. 

A disdainful reviewer once compared what he deemed my literary 
obfuscations with the confused dithyrambs of the Pseudo-Dionysius 
on the Celestial Choirs. Yet may not the Great Areopagite be, even 
now, a first desk man, or even concert master, under the Head Con- 
ductor in Heaven's Orchestra Hall? If so, I know who makes and 
tunes his wood winds and attends every rehearsal without fail : my 


grandfather, who used to fashion willow whistles for me in my boy- 
hood spring. 

So, living as we do in two worlds simultaneously, our paradox- 
ical tradition is critically attuned to both Regularity and Secularity. 
We are Regulated Seculars, other-worldly men and women firmly 
placed and commissioned in this world. The seventeenth chapter of 
St. John's Gospel is an aging church historian's recommended read- 
ing for his fraternal colleagues, both faculty and student. Nowhere 
is the humanly impossible demand of Jesus rendered so divinely 
feasible as here. For almost thirty-five years I have taught classes 
on ancient and medieval church history, on monasticism and mysti- 
cism, on contemplation and action, and on many things critically 
theoretical enough to be truly practical. Ironically yet logically 
implanted in this historic tradition has been the instinct that calls 
for a secular clergy who would not be dictated to by the world, and 
for a regular clergy who would not be isolated from it. The seven- 
teenth chapter of John is the constitution of those regulars who are 
the men for the ages. These are the truly regular fellows disciplined 
from beyond, for service in this seculum. 

It has scarcely ever been wise for true clerics to be "hail fellows 
well met." We always walk a tight rope between looking and acting 
like everyone else and, on the other hand, distinguishing ourselves 
right out of the human race. One may absolutize ephemeral things 
and the life of the age until regulation is lost and the ages lie hidden 
from contemporary eyes. So, too, one may externalize the cult, 
in church as anywhere else, until the broken bread of Christ lies 
bloating on a deserted window ledge where St. Francis once found it. 
Meanwhile, men expire for want of that true viaticum throughout 
the world. Men for the ages dare not settle for being sergeants of 
the day. Neither may they chant their nostalgic lays "far from the 
madding crowd." Perhaps there is only one sufficient repulse for a 
blatant secularity that invades the church. This may be a true 
Christian secularity that dares help regularize the world anew under 
God's Providential Eye. Maybe the only cure for suburbia is a 
phalanx of the urbs aeterna propagandizing without a highly glossed 
portfolio in the urbs terrena. This could be genuine urban renewal. 
It could well require a kind of church sowed like grain in the fallow 
fields of the world, a church never yet seen, save in the retina of the 
Master's eye. 

And so, at last, we come to our critical role as Vicarious Curates 
and Ailing Physicians. "The art of arts is the cure of souls," as 
Pope Gregory reminds us. This is no issuance of an easy nostrum. 


Curacy in the Christian tradition has always meant vicariousness. 
By ironic inflection, a vicar may, in the exigencies of localized history, 
have been thought of as a mere stand-in for a curate. Yet curacy in 
the ancient sense has ever been a synonym for true vicariousness. 
Of Jesus it was truly said, in jest as in awe : "He saved others, let 
him save himself; himself he cannot save." Truly this was so. 
Curacy is always paid for in vulnerability. Jesus incensed his fol- 
lowers by asking who had just touched him in a crowd. With a 
security problem like theirs, they were asked for statistics on who 
nudged whom! "No," said Jesus, "I really mean it. Someone touched 
me, for strength has gone out of me." A trembling woman con- 
fessed. She had helped sap his vigor. And he blessed her for it. 
"Ailing physicians are you all," the world often says in satirical jest. 
Yet, seriously enough, none can heal another without depleting his 
own privileged sanitas. His health must be drained for the blood 
banks of the world. 

On occasion, Jesus sent forth his disciples to heal. Sometimes 
they came back exultant. "We gave the devils fits," they said one 
time. "We snapped our fingers and everything worked." Another 
time, what a difference ! "What went wrong," they moaned. "Noth- 
ing happened. The devils merely smirked." Jesus replied, "That 
kind of demon can be exorcised only by prayer and fasting," and, 
as he commented elsewhere, "by dying oneself into the peoples' life." 
Expendability is the clue. To reserve oneself is to lose. To invest 
oneself is to win, forevermore. The Christ would have no part of 
esoteric practitioners or non-practicing uninvolved physicians. Re- 
laxed Aesculapians were not for him or his. Away with super-sanitary 
healers. Avast pastoral cure without a care, therapy without curacy. 
Of course he was equally set against professional hand-holders, the 
healing claque of unctuous, side-saddle diagnosticians. His art was 
one of complicated simplicity : the one old cure of heart for heart, 
diagnosed and prescribed for, afresh, for every man, woman, and 
child. Small wonder that he felt virtue go out of him, or that his 
own medicine wore out when he needed it for himself. His death 
alone could serve for others' life. His rising energized their resur- 
rection. The healing herbs he sowed flowered for all who hurt 
enough and cared enough to claim the unique cure. How cold the 
Gospel scalpel to the warm flesh ! How frozen in death the spirit, to 
which the Logos knife comes late ! 

There is no easy palliative that can parry the intricate paradoxes 
of the Christian tradition. Yet contradiction there is none for 
Christ's followers : for those who seek in Him the resolution to the 


riddle of Ministerial Primates, the open secret of Stable Wayfarers, 
the equipoise of Regulated Seculars, the Vicarious Curacy of Ailing 

There is no history without dynamic tradition, no tradition 
without unremitting practice, no practice without the nicely judged 
and discerning application of the critical temper. "For the message 
of God is a living and active force, sharper than any double-edged 
sword, piercing through soul and spirit, and joints and marrow, and 
keen in judging the thoughts and purposes of the mind." The Logos- 
tempered blade cleaves a straight and narrow wound of life down 
through the anguished spasms of historic time. Only the practicing 
confessors of a dynamic tradition dare invite the healing surgery 
of such an agape knife. God grant that we be, indeed, in the van 
of the truly critical temper. This instrument, alone, is gospel forged. 
It permits the ministerial practice of an historically authentic Christ- 
ian tradition. 

Toward the Renewal of 
Faith and Nurture—Ill 1 


In a preceding article on H. Shelton Smith's Faith and Nurture, 
we viewed him as a Jeremiah among the progressive religious edu- 
cators — as a member of their priesthood who had become their pro- 
phetic critic, "to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to 
overthrow," but also "to build and to plant." 2 While this latter more 
positive role may not have been evident to those who heard his 
theological criticisms as the outcries of an apostate, Shelton Smith did 
insist that his purpose was constructively critical. He was concerned 
for the salvation of Christian nurture from what he regarded as an 
outmoded and unrealistic liberal theology and a naturalistic edu- 
cational philosophy subversive of essential Christian faith. If it was 
the newer "realistic theology" which afforded the essential Christian 
perspective for much of his critique, he advocated neither "icono- 
clastic rejection of religious liberalism" nor uncritical adoption of 
neo-orthodoxy, but "penetrating and unsparing criticism" of both 
and willingness to learn from either. 3 Both of our preceding articles 
have exhibited his willingness to continue learning from liberal 
progressivism, and today Shelton Smith is even more concerned to 
preserve its gains ; 4 but "unsparing criticism" did predominate in 
what we have already examined of Faith and Nurture. More of 
this Jeremiah's building and planting and "waymarks" and "guide- 
posts" 5 for return to Christian nurture may be seen in his develop- 

1. This is a third article on the role of H. Shelton Smith in the theological 
critique, reconstruction, and renewal of Christian nurture. For the preceding 
articles, see The Duke Divinity School Bulletin, XXVIII, No. 2 (May 1963), 
pp. 127-141, and The Duke Divinity School Review, XXIX, No. 2 (Spring 
1964), pp. 102-113. 

2. Jeremiah 1:10, R.S.V. See my preceding article, pp. 102f. 

3. Ibid., pp. 103f., and H. Shelton Smith, Faith and Nurture (Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1941), pp. vii-ix. 

4. He lectured several years ago at the University of North Carolina on 
John Dewey's contributions, and has criticized a "hardened orthodoxy" in 
certain recent Christian education curricular developments ! For his "re- 
valuation" of George A. Coe's contributions, see his appreciative tribute, 
"George A. Coe: Revaluer of Values," Religion in Life, XXII, No. 1 (Winter 
1952-53), pp. 46-57. 

5. Jeremiah 31 :21, RSV. 


ment of two other themes in this book and in subsequent articles 
and lectures. These more affirmative statements deal with the 
doctrine of the person and work of Christ and the doctrine of the 

The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture 

"Essential to any vital advance in Christian nurture," Shelton 
Smith affirmed, "is a renewed consciousness of the supremacy of 
Christ." 6 This is the fundamental thesis of a chapter of Faith and 
Nurture, 1 of a symposium article published a year later, 8 and of one 
of the lectures in a series given at three theological seminaries in 
1942 and 1947. 9 

He was beginning to work out more fully the basic Christologi- 
cal and soteriological interests which were implicit in his theological 
conversion of 1931 and his "Barthian" article of 1934 and briefly 
asserted in his provocative addresses of 1936. 10 He had challenged 
the Religious Education Association by vigorously criticizing Stewart 
G. Cole's presentation on "The Church and Religious Naturalism" 
for its rejection of the inherent supernaturalism of Jewish and early 
Christian thought, for its reduction of Christ to the liberal Jesus of 
history, and for its dilution of salvation to moralistic humanitarian- 
ism. "Professor Cole," he charged, "unreservedly rejects the idea of 
salvation in terms of transcendent revelation, grace, and deliver- 
ance. ... he repudiates the idea of salvation as Divine deliverance 
in the medium of Christ. For a gospel of good news in Christ, he 
substitutes a gospel of good works. . . . Only high religion with a 
redemptive cross at its center has afforded society its revolutionary 
gospel," Smith declared. 11 To fellow Congregational-Christians 
in General Council he had proclaimed that "The Christian gospel 

6. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," Religion in Life, XII, 
No. 1 (Winter 1942-1943), p. 31. 

7. Chapter Four, "Faith in the Divine Initiative," pp. 100-135 of Faith and 
Nurture. Subtopics : "Decadent Evangelism," "Jesus Christ as the Ultimate 
Meaning of Life," "The Gospel of Repentance," and "The Gospel of Deliver- 

8. The Religion in Life article referred to above was one of three on "Issues 
in Religious Education." William Clayton Bower wrote on "Christian Edu- 
cation after Nineteen Centuries," pp. 41-47; and Henry P. Van Dusen on 
"Religious Education in Crisis," pp. 48-52. 

9. Four lectures on "Faith and Nurture in Contemporary Protestant 
Thought," presented at Eden Theological Seminary, February 10-12, 1942; at 
Pacific School of Religion, February 17-19, 1942; and at Austin Presbyterian 
Seminary, February 3-7, 1947. These are in typescript. 

10. See my first article in this series, pp. 103f, 134ff. 

11. "Is Religious Naturalism Enough?" Religious Education, XXXI, No. 2 
(April 1936), pp. 107-109. 


is the gospel of salvation only to sinners," a good news of "God's 
strategy of radical deliverance in the direct action of the Cross." 12 

These ringing declarations, however brief and polemical, presage 
in several ways Shelton Smith's further and fuller reflections on "the 
supremacy of Christ in Christian nurture." In the first place, it was 
to be expected that his Christological and soteriological statements in 
Faith and Nurture and ensuing utterances would still be expressed in 
critical contrast to what he deplored as the inadequate gospel of 
liberal nurture. Secondly, and relatedly, his interest in Christology 
centered more in the authority of revelation than in the nature of 
the incarnation ; that is, more in the assertion of divine initiative in 
Christ than in the manner or matter of such disclosure. Thirdly, even 
that interest in the revelation of God in Christ tended to be sub- 
sumed under and assimilated to a predominating soteriological 
interest. If this accorded with his well-known emphasis on the 
doctrine of man as sinner, it also (surprisingly to some) implied the 
continuing primacy of nurture over instruction in Shelton Smith's 
reconception of Christian education, and kept him closer to Bushnell 
after all than to the new orthodoxy. These three points afford outline 
for exploration of his more developed statements about the place of 
Christ in Christian nurture. 

(1) The first point is primarily introductory and needs little 
elaboration. Liberal Protestantism, as Smith saw it, had lost its 
evangelical power and social dynamic. Liberal educators and 
churches had followed Horace Bushnell in substituting evangelism 
through Christian nurture for a sterile revivalism. Smith could ap- 
prove their reaction against the "excesses and imbecilities," "catas- 
trophic conversion," "religious introversion and unhealthy emotional- 
ism" of a traditional revivalism which "no longer really revived." 13 
But in expecting Christian nurture to "be the means of quickening 
the evangelical life of the American churches," they had unduly 
trusted "in the revitalizing power of the child-centered Church" 
and "the evangelical potency of the educational method." 14 Child- 
nurture and educational method did contribute to the institutional 
perpetuation and growth of the churches, but were inadequate for "a 
new dynamic in the Church which makes it socially effective and 
world-redemptive, and ... in radical tension with a secular cul- 
ture" ; 15 they did not issue in adult religious vitality or bring 

12. "The Gospel for an Age of Good Works," Advance, CXXVIII, No. 13 
(October 1936), p. 581. 

13. Faith and Nurture, p. 104. 

14. Ibid., p. 101. 

15. Ibid., p. 102. 


religious revival or serve as the expected "religiously reconstructive 
force." 16 

Yet this did not mean for Shelton Smith the renunciation of 
Christian nurture : "On the contrary, to the fullest possible extent 
the Church should share its life and faith with the young. This is a 
basic and continuing task of the Church. Nevertheless, the Church 
must not surrender to the illusion that child-nurture, in itself, will 
rekindle the fire of life and faith in the Christian community." 17 The 
problem, as he saw it, was not only that too much was expected of 
nurture; it was, more seriously, that liberal nurture was "feeble 
because . . . rooted in a sub-Christian gospel. Educational evangelism 
is largely sterile," he maintained, because it lacked "an adequate 
evangel." 18 This meant, centrally, an inadequate doctrine of Christ: 
"for in no respect is progressive nurture more vulnerable than in its 
doctrine of the person and work of Christ." 19 In book, article, and 
lecture, Shelton Smith hammered home this point, repeatedly ex- 
posing the weakness of liberal progressive views of Jesus in the con- 
trasting light of what he regarded as enduringly indispensable 
meanings of classical Christian doctrines of Christ. 

(2) His concern with the doctrine of the person of Christ (as 
distinguished from the work of Christ) did not, however, lead him 
back to the traditional problems of classical Christological or 
Trinitarian discussions. Closer by now to Tillich than to Barth, he 
shared with both an emphasis (in this context at least) not so much 
on the nature or the mode of the incarnation as on the fact of it : not 
so much on the "whatness" as on the "thatness" of divine initiative 
in historical disclosure in Jesus Christ. He was interested here 
primarily in the normativeness of that disclosure, in the ultimacy 
and authority of the revelation, in the supremacy and finality of 
Christ in the continuing Christian movement. The governing in- 
terest is evident beneath varying nuances of representative passages 
from the three sources under examination. 

Thus Shelton Smith declared in Faith and Nurture, "The Chris- 
tian gospel involves a fundamental faith in respect to the relation of 
God to human history. . . . the faith that God has revealed in history, 
in Jesus Christ, the ultimate meaning and destiny of human ex- 
istence." 20 Taking his cue from Paul Tillich, he went on to affirm 

16. Ibid., p. 105. 

17. Ibid,, p. 103. 
IS. Ibid., p. 105. 

19. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., p. 33. 

20. Faith and Nurture, p. 105. 


that history was given a religious center in Jesus Christ, in the sense 
that historical events, both past and future, find their ultimate spiritual 
significance in and through Christ. The events B.C. and A.D. are inter- 
sected by a transempirical "event" that discloses the ultimate religious 
meaning of historical existence before the end of the empirical time- 
process. In this sense therefore Christ is the center of history. 21 

It may be worth noting that what here engaged the attention of 
Smith and Tillich with respect to the incarnation was not the reality 
or nature or character of God disclosed in Christ but the illumina- 
tion of human existence. It was not so much the person of Christ 
as the work of Christ that concerned them ; Christology was being 
assimilated to soteriology. 

The comparable key statement in Smith's lecture to the theo- 
logical seminaries on "The Place of Christ in Christian Nurture" 
similarly emphasized the normative meaning of Jesus Christ for 
Christian understanding of historical existence (this time with 
acknowledgment of another mentor) : 

. . . Christianity is an historical religion in the sense that its Founder, 
Jesus of Nazareth, was a real historical figure. Let us recognize, how- 
ever, that he is historical in yet another sense. For Christian faith, Jesus 
Christ is the permanent historical center of the Christian movement in 
the sense that in Him God validly disclosed the ultimate meaning of 
human existence once for all. He is that special revelatory event with- 
in the Christian community which serves as the unsurpassed norm of 
the true spiritual meaning of all human events. It is this event, as 
Professor Richard Niebuhr says, "which makes all other events intel- 
ligible" to the Christian consciousness. 22 

However, a pivotal declaration in his article on "The Supremacy 
of Christ in Christian Nurture" did express, in broader statement 
and different idiom more redolent of traditional Christological dis- 
cussion, a fundamental interest also in the person of Christ for what 
he revealed of the nature of God, as well as the destiny of man : 

Jesus Christ, says the classical tradition of the Church, is both the 
historic founder and the abiding norm of the Christian movement. That 
affirmation rests on the faith — which is substantiated by almost twenty 
centuries of experience — that in Christ God has already supremely un- 

21. Ibid., pp. 105f. He cited Paul Tillich's essay on "The Kingdom of God 
and History," in the Oxford Conference volume, The Kingdom of God and 
History (Willett, Clark, 1938), p. 119. Shelton Smith avidly read the Oxford 
Conference literature and sent his students to it. Moreover, he has long been 
a friend and appreciative interpreter of Tillich, and later instituted a seminar 
on Tillich's theology. 

22. From the unpublished typescript of Lecture Three, "The Place of Christ 
in Christian Nurture," pp. 5f. The reference was to H. Richard Niebuhr, The 
Meaning of Revelation (The Macmillan Company, 1941), p. 93. 


veiled His innermost nature. As a result of that divine self-manifestation, 
the Christian community believes that it now beholds in the face of Jesus 
Christ both the true nature of God and the true destiny of man. 23 

Even here, nevertheless, Smith's central interest in the doctrine of 
the person of Christ, or the incarnation, was manifestly in the ulti- 
macy and authority of revelation. 

This main point was made in vigorous polemic against what he 
perceived as the relativizing and repudiation of revelational theology 
by liberal religious educators, especially by the more extreme pro- 
gressives. The problem was not merely that religious education had 
grown up with the liberal attenuation of classical views of revelation. 
It was rather that progressive philosophy of nurture was in "basic 
conflict" with the view that "in Jesus Christ God disclosed the ulti- 
mate meaning of existence." 24 The conflict was rooted in the pro- 
gressive assumption that all "revelations" were relative to their 
times, and that any ultimate meanings of existence were to be sought 
in the emerging future rather than the past. 

This relativistic idea of revelation is the main root of the progressive's 
opposition to what he dubs "supernaturalism," "authoritarianism," and 
the like. To him those terms involve, among other things, a belief in a 
prior disclosure of some truth or value which is subsequently taken to 
possess a normative character in Christian nurture; and any such belief 
is in conflict with his own doctrine. Thus he repudiates absolutes, and 
founds his faith upon what he calls "emerging values." 25 

Thus William Clayton Bower could say that it " 'is a naive illusion 
to suppose that ideas, values, . . . which functioned in a past period 
of culture, will or can function in the contemporary scene.' " 26 Smith 
saw in this "exaggerated emphasis" on the present and future, with 
its subordination of the past, a tendency which he caricatured in 
terms of its logical outcome: "The most one might say of Jesus, on 
this basis, is that his ideas and values are an historical exhibit of 
what modern Christians need not take seriously." 27 To be sure, 
"the progressive is loath to accept the full consequences of such a 
position ; and therefore he continues to profess devotion to the 
ethical teachings of Jesus, or at least to the spirit of quest as ex- 
hibited in Jesus" ; 28 but for Smith this was not enough for signifi- 

23. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., p. 34. 

24. Faith and Nurture, p. 107. 

25. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., p. 34. 

26. Faith and Nurture, p. 107, and Bower, "The Challenge of Reaction to 
Liberal Thought," Religious Education, XXXII (1937), p. 120. 

27. Faith and Nurture, p. 107. 

28. Ibid,, p. 108. 


cant Christian nurture. "No realistic individual," he declared, "can 
truly doubt that Jesus Christ is ultimately valid and at the same 
time make a decisive self-commitment to Him." 29 

The conflict between such a view of the supremacy of Jesus 
Christ and progressive nurture was variously evident also in the 
educational method of the latter. If the progressives could use epi- 
thets like "authoritarian," "supernaturalist," and "traditionalism," 
Smith could hoist progressive religious education on its own ideo- 
logical banners and watchwords. Thus he lifted up its assumption 
that reality is in process of continuous change, its emphasis on the 
method of experimental quest, its pragmatic concern with method 
of inquiry rather than formulation of truth, its anti-historical bias, 
its rejection of content-teaching, its principle of tentativeness, its 
neglect of past religious insights in favor of the process of remaking 
all insights. 30 "Vital Christian nurture is rooted in a faith that can- 
not accept this provisional temper and process of experimentalism," 
he strongly objected. "Christian nurture presupposes a faith that 
goes deeper than mere faith in 'growing values.' . . . The Christian 
teacher . . . does not share his faith in Christ with the child in a 
spirit of absolute tentativeness, but in the conviction that in Christ 
God has spoken an eternally valid word to humanity." 31 

Up to this point we have noticed Shelton Smith's interest in 
Christology primarily for its theme of the ultimacy and authority 
of divine disclosure in Jesus Christ, and, in this regard, his concern 
more with the "that" than with the "what" of this supreme revela- 
tion. If he did not rehearse the traditional meanings of the Godhead 
revealed in the God-man, neither was he reduced to liberal absorp- 
tion with the domesticated personality of Jesus the good man and 
wise teacher. Yet it is instructive to note that his turn toward neo- 
orthodoxy's Christ of faith had not meant renunciation of the Jesus 
of history. In his early "Barthian" article he had applauded Barth's 
powerful reaffirmation of the centrality of Christ, but not without 
reservations : if the humanity of Jesus was not revelatory, he pro- 
tested, but only Christ the Word given to faith, the historical Jesus 
might be reduced to "a mere ghostly appearance" ; whereas Smith 
was concerned for more, rather than less, knowledge about the 
Jesus of history. 32 His 1942 lectures to the seminaries still voiced 

29. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., p. 36. 

30. These are expressions, some verbatim, gathered from Faith and Nurture, 
pp. 108-111. 

31. Ibid., pp. 113, 114. 

32. "Let Religious Educators Reckon with Barthians," Religious Education, 
XXIX, No. 1 (January, 1934), p. 50. 


such misgivings over the newer theological tendency "that really 
minimizes the value of the historic Jesus and puts its main emphasis 
on the Christ of faith." 33 Granting that it did "not deny that Jesus 
was a real historical character," and granting that the more radical 
New Testament criticism had so reduced the picture of Jesus as to 
foster such reaction, Smith warned against the "danger of obscuring 
the character of Christianity as an historical and ethical faith." "The 
Gospels," he maintained, "aim to tell us what happened in history, 
not less than to explain the ultimate meaning of historical events. 
If they fail to give us all that we should like to know about Jesus of 
Nazareth, yet what they do give is of the greatest importance to the 
Christian educator. A faith that is historically rootless is not Chris- 
tian faith." 34 He was dissatisfied with the historical skepticism of 
both the new theology and the older criticism that had left progres- 
sive nurture's historical Jesus "too meager a person of Christian 
nurture." 35 

The Gospel of Repentance and Deliverance 

(3) Yet Shelton Smith's fundamental concern both for knowl- 
edge of the Jesus of history and for acknowledgment of the finality 
of divine disclosure in Christ was manifestly more distinctively 
soteriological than primarily Christological. What made revelation, 
and incarnation, significant and essential was the saving mission of 
Jesus Christ for sinful man. It was in this connection that Shelton 
Smith gave most attention to what Jesus said and did as well as to 
the divine authority of that message and ministry. If these truisms 
do not surprise us, they do remind us of his loyal though liberal stance 
within the Reformation and neo-Reformation traditions, for there 
his mentors old and new likewise both exalted the incarnation and 
subsumed it under reconciliation and redemption. This crucial aspect 
of his thought will be evident as we examine his affirmations of 
theological correctives for a more Christian nurture. 

The two main themes of this corrective were enunciated in his 
article on "The Supremacy of Christ" as he identified the failure of 
progressive religious education "to recognize the decisive mission 
of Christ both in uncovering the nature of man's ultimate problem 
and in mediating to him the resources of the divine mercy." 36 He 
dealt with the same themes in somewhat different terms in both of 

33. Lecture Three, "The Place of Christ in Christian Nurture," p. 2 (from 
the unpublished typescript). 

34. Ibid., pp. 2f. 

35. Ibid., p. 5. 

36. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., p. 36. 


the other writings : "The Gospel of Repentance" and "The Gospel 
of Deliverance" in Faith and Nurture, 37 and with "Jesus Christ: 
Mediator of the Judgment of the Kingdom" and "Jesus Christ: 
Mediator of the Grace of the Kingdom" in Lecture Three to the sem- 
inaries. 38 A brief study will show what he made of these comple- 
mentary themes and how he found religious education doctrinally 

(a) The charge that progressive nurture had failed "to recognize 
the decisive mission of Christ ... in uncovering the nature of man's 
problem" referred, of course, to Jesus Christ's exposure of man's 
sin and need to repent to enter the Kingdom of God. This was an 
enduring theme for Shelton Smith, from his "Barthian" protest 
through his characteristic "O wretched man that I am" classroom 
exclamations in the later 1930's into the culminating study of Chang- 
ing Conceptions of Original Sin (1955). 39 But this continuing 
emphasis was not, as some have misunderstood or even caricatured 
Smith's and neo-Reformation theology, an obsession with "man as 
sinner" ; rather, as the present context shows, it was a more in- 
clusive concern for realistic recognition of man's condition in order 
to his salvation, and therefore with the work of Jesus Christ in both 
this radical diagnosis and efficacious therapy. And here, it may be 
seen, the formal authority of Christ already discussed began to take 
on the material content of historical word and deed. 

A principal point of tension between progressive religious edu- 
cation and Christian faith, as Smith saw it, was "the nature of the 
demand that the Christian gospel makes upon the human subject of 
redemption." 40 That demand he found articulated when Jesus came 
preaching, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." 41 
"In Jesus' call to repentance," he declared, "there is a basic pre- 

37. Faith and Nurture, pp. 115-124 and 124-135. 

38. Lecture Three, "The Place of Christ in Christian Nurture," pp. 15-22 
and 22-29. 

39. Changing Conceptions of Original Sin: A Study in American Theology 
Since 1750 (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1955), a careful examination of early- 
colonial orthodoxy as to the doctrine of sin, of its modification and virtual 
rejection in liberal theology, and of its revival and revision in recent thought. 
The judgment may be ventured that Shelton Smith buried his anthropological 
interest in that volume, and turned with the times to other theological themes 
and especially to his already strong concerns for racial justice and an inclusive 
Church. Moreover, his presidencies of the American Church History Society 
and the American Theological Society, and his massive editorial work (with 
Robert T. Handy and Lefferts A. Loetscher) on the two volumes of American 
Christianity (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960, 1963), must have demanded 
and stimulated his increasingly diverse theological and historical interests. 

40. Faith and Nurture, p. 115. 

41. Matthew 4:17. 


supposition .... that human existence is in contradiction with the 
Kingdom of God, and therefore stands under judgment of the King- 
dom. In this is also signified the fact that man does not, in his 
'fallen' condition, belong to the Kingdom. The gospel thus confronts 
man with a radical imperative only because man does not really 
stand on the inner circle of the Kingdom." 42 This meant that man 
must repent, and must be convicted of the need to repent, and must 
be won to the will to repent. How could this be effected ? 

Smith ascribed the radical totality and ultimate validity of this 
stark claim to Jesus' own insight into the "absolute holiness of God" : 

His conviction of the absolute necessity for repentance grew out of His 
clear perception of the nature of God. Being deeply aware of the absolute 
holiness of God, Jesus saw that no man was truly good. . . . According 
to the Sermon on the Mount, one must be free from all anxiety, be 
absolutely pure, forgive without limit, and love God with the whole heart, 
or else one could have no fellowship with God in His Kingdom. These 
absolutes derived their validity, not, as some have claimed, from their 
interim nature, but from the fact of their belonging to an eternal order of 
righteousness. 43 

But it was not simply the authority of Jesus' insight and teaching 
that was needed to lead men through repentance to the Kingdom; 
it was his own personal embodiment of it in history, and an embodi- 
ment men could know to be the Kingdom # in their midst: 

The call to repentance is set in a rigorous context not merely by 
Jesus' formal declaration of the absolute nature of the Kingdom of God, 
but more especially by his own personal demonstration of its quality on 
the historical plane. He not only spoke with an authority that was 
strikingly different from that of the scribes and the Pharisees; He 
actually exhibited in his daily life such qualities of love and mercy, of 
good-will and compassion, that one in closest company with him in all 
sorts of situations, is reported as saying: "Thou are the Christ, the 
Son of the living God." 44 

Thus Jesus' very life brought to men the righteousness of the King- 
dom in a sense that his mere words could never have done. He thus 
sharpened the call to repentance by living out the character of the Kingdom 
on the plane of history. . . . As men witnessed the extraordinary power 
of the Kingdom as demonstrated in Jesus of Nazareth, they were pro- 
foundly convicted of sin and of their need of repentance. 45 

Here, then, Shelton Smith was fleshing out his more formal 
Christological utterances with historical content of the saving ac- 

42. Faith and Nurture, p. 116. 

43. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., pp. 36f. 

44. Lecture Three, "The Place of Christ in Christian Nurture," pp. 17-18 

45. Ibid., pp. 18, 19. 


tivity of Jesus Christ as human spokesman and embodiment of the 
divine judgment and call to repentance (and, as we shall discuss 
presently, of divine grace and deliverance). The incarnation, as 
revelation of God's nature and man's destiny, could thus better be 
understood in terms of the authority and power of God effectually 
working in the message and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It would 
be interesting, though difficult, to disentangle the not quite har- 
monious strands of Smith's theological affinities with Barth and 
Brunner, and with Tillich, on the one hand, and with moderate 
British New Testament interpretation, like C. H. Dodd's, on the 
other hand ; but the analyst might also look back of Smith's own 
approach to Chalcedon for the influences of his American social 
gospel heritage, of his colleague Albert C. Outler, and especially of 
Horace Bushnell's long struggle with the meaning of "Christ and 
his salvation." 46 

Yet it was a liberal religious education indebted to Bushnell's 
Christian Nurture that Smith brought under critical scrutiny in light 
of these views of Jesus Christ as exposer of sin and summoner to 
repentance. In reaction against a sterile revivalism that depended 
excessively on late emotional conversions for initiation of Christian 
life, Bushnell had advocated that a child be so nurtured, by virtue of 
regenerative grace operative through the organic unity of the family, 
that he would grow up a Christian and never know himself as other- 
wise. As Smith could show, there was a residual realism in Bush- 
nell's acknowledgment of human depravity, and in his profound con- 
cern with man's need for Christ's atonement ; but more sanguine 
twentieth-century disciples like George A. Coe and George H. Betts 
extended one side of Bushnell's thought into a view of the child as 
naturally a member of the Kingdom of God and due for normal 
development in goodness. 47 

For liberal religious nurture in effect presupposes that when man emerges 
in his empirical existence he is already a member of the Kingdom of 
God, and needs only more growth from within it. Thus the primary task 
of Christian nurture in this view is to preserve the child's membership in 
the Kingdom, rather than to awaken in him the consciousness of the 
need of repentance as a condition of entrance into it. 48 

46. See Faith and Nurture, pp. 21-24, 116-122; also Smith, ct ah, American 
Christianity: An Historical Interpretation with Representative (Documents, 
Volume II, Chapter XVII, "The Christocentric Liberal Tradition," especially 
pp. 260-264, 270-275 ; and Shelton Smith's forthcoming volume in the Library 
of Protestant Thought series on Horace Bushnell, to be published soon by the 
Oxford University Press. 

47. Faith and Nurture, pp. 116-122. 

48. Ibid., p. 116. 


"Liberal nurture's tendency to educate the child in the consciousness 
of being Christian," Smith wryly remarked, "is not calculated to 
cultivate in man the disposition to admit his sickness." 49 Nor was 
progressive religious education disposed to take seriously the real- 
istic theologians' revival of the doctrine of sin. 50 

(b) A progressive nurture indisposed to acknowledge sin and 
judgment would then also fail to recognize the saving mission of 
Christ in mediating to man "the resources of the divine mercy." 51 
But, as Shelton Smith eloquently put it in his lecture, "This is 
where Jesus Christ emerges in His supreme role. For in Christ the 
Kingdom of Judgment is transmuted into the Kingdom of Mercy. 
The Word of wrath is swallowed up in the Word of grace." 52 For 
authority on this other neglected theme Smith returned to his gospel 
text and cited Jesus' preaching of the divine deliverance "at hand" 
for those who respond to God in repentance and faith. Such de- 
liverance, it seemed necessary to stress, was "recognized as the act 
of God," "a gift of God" ; it was "a promise of deliverance from 
sin by a power greater than ourselves" ; the Lord's Prayer echoed 
this ""fundamental fact that the Kingdom is God's, and that human 
entrance into it is possible only through the divine deliverance." 53 
Moreover, this "emphasis upon God as deliverer from sin and evil 

49. Ibid., p. 124. 

50. "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," op. cit., p. 37. Smith 
could sympathize with some of the progressive reactions against indiscriminate 
application of the idea of sin in neo-orthodoxy. "But the thing that impresses 
me most about the progressive in this connection," he countered, "is that his 
own constructive doctrine reveals so little appreciation of sin in any of 
its profounder dimensions. He speaks often enough of social tensions and of 
'undesirable tendencies' ; nevertheless, in his analysis of them — both in respect 
of source and of ultimate meaning — he moves almost entirely on the empirical 
plane. Assuming as he does that the self is social in origin, he is usually 
inclined to locate the decisive root of human tensions in the social matrix in 
which the self emerges. Though he says that human nature at birth has 
potentialities for both good and evil, yet there is always the strong implication 
that if the undesirable historic behavior patterns of our civilization could be 
extracted, the basic source of the evil in man would also be eliminated. Thus 
what purports to be a realistic assessment of the human predicament really 
amounts to a romantic one" (ibid., p. 38). 

51. Ibid., p. 36. 

52. Lecture Three, "The Place of Christ in Christian Nurture," p. 23. 

53. Faith and Nurture, pp. 124f. If these arguments seem gratuitous in our 
theological day, when the Biblically minded would hardly be caught dead 
"building the kingdom," and the holy worldlings would hardly thing of justify- 
ing a new "secular" autonomy with "teachings of Jesus" about the kingdom, 
we need but recall how seriously the liberal social gospel era represented its 
anthropocentric kingdom in terms of Jesus' teachings, and how it distinguished 
sharply between the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels and the theologizing of 


is continued in Paul's teaching," Smith went on to show (and mar- 
shalled current New Testament scholarship to vindicate, against 
earlier liberal denigration of Paul's "theologizing," an essential con- 
tinuity between Synoptic and Pauline teaching about Christ). He 
found beneath the Pauline metaphors of reconciliation, justification, 
adoption, and redemption "the presupposition that it is God, not man, 
who redeems human existence from its thralldom and meaningless- 
ness." 54 

Liberal nurture, of course, saw little need of such a gospel. It 
shared the faith of modern culture in man's "self-emancipating ca- 
pacity." 55 Whatever deliverance man needed was to be sought in 
"creative thinking" and "creative loving" — in Coe's "salvation by 
education," in the appeal of a rational faith for a scientific age, in 
the efficacy of "creative intelligence" for personal problems and 
social injustices, in the human initiative of "creative quest" for 
higher values, in the law of love exemplified in Jesus for the build- 
ing or bringing in of the Kingdom of God. 56 

It is highly significant for Shelton Smith's views of faith and 
nurture that in criticizing such rationalistic and moralistic "redemp- 
tive" strategies he was concerned not to disparage reason but to see 
its proper service. He was not sympathetic with the "tendency in 
certain quarters to retreat into a misty irrationalism, mistakenly 
called 'faith.' " 57 Revelation itself required the response of human 
intelligence. So also did personal and social reconstruction : "Reason 
may . . . not only establish a social norm of existence that transcends 
the impulses of mere self-survival, but it may both reveal and criticize 
the motives, pretensions, and perspectives of those who thwart life 
in its more universal dimensions." 58 But reason was not enough to 
resolve the "tensions between egoistic impulse and social communi- 
ty" ; it could not "provide the dynamic of redemption" to enable man 
to do what reason itself showed good. Like the Paul of Romans 
7:23ff. (a favorite text for Smith in those days), man was too much 
under the dominion of the law of sin to serve the law of his mind. 
Intelligence was not enough. He needed divine deliverance. 59 

It is significant, again, for Shelton Smith's view of Christian 
nurture, that he regarded this "theocentric deliverance" as a real or 

54. Ibid., pp. 125f. 

55. Ibid., pp. 126f. 

56. Ibid., pp. 127-132 ; and "The Supremacy of Christ in Christian Nurture," 
op. cit., pp. 38f. 

57. Ibid. 

58. Faith and Nurture, p. 131. 

59. Ibid., pp. 131f. 


"dynamic" salvation (to borrow David Roberts' term connoting ex- 
perienced inner change) rather than a "static" salvation defined pri- 
marily in terms of divine forgiveness or a change of man's sinful 
status before God (as Roberts and others interpreted the Barthian 
revival of Reformation soteriology). 60 This accords with our judg- 
ment that, for all of Smith's stress on the sinfulness of man, he pre- 
supposed much more of a continuing basis in human nature for 
Christian nurture than the defensive progressives and liberals per- 
ceived in the theological anthropology of Barth and neo-orthodoxy 
generally. To be sure, it was a human nature in need of change, 
but change was possible even if never complete. Moreover, with such 
recognition of both the need and the possibility of change, and of the 
meaning of the incarnation primarily in terms of soteriology, and 
of the value but dynamic limitations of human reason, we would 
expect Shelton Smith to insist on a reconstruction of Christian edu- 
cation that gave priority to nurture over instruction ; that is, a theo- 
logically corrected Christian nurture centering in relationships with 
God and man through Church and family, and the dynamic activity 
of God through such relationships, rather than in a content-centered 
curriculum heavy with even the best of Biblical and doctrinal ma- 
terial. Here he would be closer to Bushnell than to neo-orthodoxy 
after all. Indeed, such has been the tenor of his critical reactions to 
certain recent theological reconstructions of denominational curricular 
philosophies and materials. 

It is significant also, in these connections, that Shelton Smith 
again drew back, as he had before, from "the Barthian version of 
current theology" where it implied "a too complete denial of the 
place of human action in Christian salvation. Implicit in all forms 
of unqualified divine sovereignty," he warned, "is the danger that 
man will be regarded as a too passive factor in divine-human rela- 
tions." He could not accept Kierkegaard's "radical disjunction be- 
tween God and man" which "lies at the root of Barth's theology." 61 
Instead, he cited with approval "an important element of correction" 

60. See David E. Roberts, Psychotherapy and a Christian Viczv of Man 
(Charles Scribner's Sons, 1950), Chapters 8 and 9. It is tempting to link 
Shelton Smith's soteriology with John Wesley's, particularly where Wesley 
sees the repentant man through his conflict of law and sin to a salvation not 
only from the guilt of sin (justification) but also from the power of sin 
(regeneration, sanctification). See, for example, Wesley's sermon on "The 
Scripture Way of Salvation," in Wesley's Standard Sermons, ed. Edward H. 
Sugden (The Epworth Press, 1921), Vol. II, pp. 444ff. However, Shelton 
Smith would probably prefer the New England theological pedigree with a 
Bushncllian revision. 

61. Faith and Nurture, pp. 133f. He was obviously still thinking of the 
"early Barth," as were those who labelled Shelton Smith himself as "Barthian." 


in the similarly Calvinistic New England theology: the idea of 
covenant, which "acknowledges that God is sovereign in His King- 
dom, yet it denies that God is 'wholly other' in His relation to His 
creatures. Implicit in the idea of covenant," he concluded, "is the 
assumption that man has a responsible part to play both in entering 
upon, and in preserving, the covenant relation." 62 Shelton Smith 
had once again corrected his theological bearings from his own re- 
covered early American theological tradition in preference to the 
word of Karl Barth. 68 But both had spoken to him of the saving 
grace of God in Jesus Christ. 

The Church: Community of Christian Nurture 

This former student of Shelton Smith's can vividly remember 
going to his office one day during the academic year 1938-39 and 
discovering his professor transported with theological excitement 
over the doctrine of the Church. This new enthusiasm seemed strange 
at the time, especially because Professor Smith's courses had not 
prepared the student to anticipate or respond to this doctrinal con- 

62. Ibid., p. 134. 

63. Throughout these studies of Shelton Smith's contributions "Toward 
the Renewal of Faith and Nurture" we have found his responsiveness to Barth 
and Brunner strongly tempered by preference for characteristic American theo- 
logical positions, with a manifest continuing tension in his thought between 
liberal and orthodox interests, from the time of Jonathan Mayhew and 
Jonathan Edwards of the colonial period into the evangelical liberalism, social 
gospel thought, and American "realistic" theology of the present century. 
(See my first article, op cit., especially pp. 136-141.) 

It is surprising therefore to find a new book in Christian education (Gerald 
H. Slusser The Local Church in Transition : Theology, Education, and Ministry 
[The Westminster Press, 1964], pp. 54f.) loosely misinterpreting and quickly 
dismissing Smith's volume as "widely acclaimed . . . mostly because it was 
under the complete dominance of crisis theology." "Viewed from the vantage- 
point of post-Bultmannian knowledge of theology," the author continues, 
"Smith's book seems little more than a simple repetition of Brunner's theology. 
. . . Smith ... set up straw men and proceeded to knock them down with 
borrowed theology. . . . Smith did not deal with the strongest points of 
religious education and its best defenders, but attacked its obvious errors and 
caricatured the movement as a whole." Moreover, the author takes Smith to 
task for ignoring the major point of Harrison S. Elliott's Can Religious 
Education Be Christian? (1940), a defense of progressive religious education 
against neo-orthodox theology. 

As for this last point, the author must not have known that Faith and 
Nurture was being readied for the press when Elliott's book was published 
and therefore could take only marginal notice of the latter. The two books 
do significantly join the main issues, although neither was written in response 
to the other. 

It is hardly necessary to defend Shelton Smith against the other undis- 
criminating criticisms. Obviously the author neither probed the real meaning 
of Smith's theology nor understood his concern to preserve solid gains of 
religious education while correcting weaknesses. 


cern. But even for an uncomprehending student there was no doubt- 
ing the fresh and compelling interest. There on his desk was R. 
Newton Flew's new book, Jesus and His Church f 4 and all around 
there seemed to be a cloud of witnesses to the Edinburgh and Oxford 
and Madras Conferences and their ecclesiological discussions. We 
must recover the doctrine of the Church, Shelton Smith was insisting, 
as if bearing witness to a late conversion from his own sectarian tra- 
dition toward an ecumenical ecclesiology, a theological development 
almost as significant as his earlier swing from Dewey toward (not 
to!) Barth. 

It was not that this new concern negated — rather it reconceived 
and fulfilled — his earlier work and thought in relation to the churches. 
Although from a denomination which lacked the organic character 
or connectionalism or sacramentalism of some other communions, he 
had long since transcended denominationalism — in war-time Y.M.C.A. 
work overseas, in progressive educational ideology, in interdenomina- 
tional service on the staff of the International Council of Religious 
Education. This kind of ecumenical concern came to noteworthy 
fruition in his key leadership in the origin and development of the 
North Carolina Council of Churches. But this older interdenomina- 
tionalism, and Shelton Smith as a vigorous exponent of it, lacked the 
high sense of the Church which was emerging in the theologies of 
ecumenical discussion. 

He began to write into his much-revised and re-thought manu- 
script for Faith and Nurture this strong new concern for a more 
adequate theological understanding of the Church, and in this con- 
text, of the Church as the community of Christian nurture. The 
book embodied his first substantial treatment of the theme; the pre- 
ceding articles reveal little basis for anticipating its development. 
Thus when he found liberal and progressive religious education 
wanting in respect to the doctrine of the Church, he was indirectly 
confessing his own omission in his earlier critiques and his earlier 
theological work generally; indeed, he could acknowledge that re- 
ligious education was not "essentially different from other aspects of 
American Christianity" in this neglect. 65 He might well have in- 
cluded also the history of American thought which he had explored 
without being awakened to such an interest. But now it had become 
a major theological category for his rethinking of Christian nurture, 
to be dealt with again in his later lectures to the seminaries, and to 

64. Published in 1938 by the Epworth Press, London. 

65. Faith and Nurture, p. 139. 


serve as the theme for an entire series of nine lectures to the Presby- 
terian Assembly's Training School in Richmond, in 1954. 66 

(1) Before examining his treatment of the Church in Faith and 
Nurture, we may venture several generalizations about it. (a) It is 
his most positive, constructive offering in the book as well as in his 
other discussions of Christian education ; there is less of criticism and 
more of theological position. It is not uncommon for students re- 
viewing his book today to single out this chapter as the most sig- 
nificant for them. 

(b) It is almost a self-contained essay, least integral to his 
book and critique while repeating in different form much of his es- 
sential message (as many ecclesiological statements do). An im- 
portant inclusion is his characteristically strong social ethic of the 
Christian community. 

(c) There is also least reference here to the earlier history of 
American Christianity, and quite understandably, since it was not 
just religious education but American thought generally that suf- 
fered poverty of understanding of the Church and therefore afforded 
little historical corrective for liberal and progressive failings. 

(d) There are two notable deficiencies in his ecclesiology of 
Christian nurture (if we may judge with hindsight of a quarter- 
century and more recent theological reconceptions of Christian edu- 
cation), namely, the Holy Spirit and the Sacraments! The scant 
attention to the meaning of the Holy Spirit 67 in the life of the Church 
is especially noticeable in view of his reiteration here of the doctrine 
of Christ as "the Mediator through whom God redeems men and 
unites them to Himself as a Christian community," 68 which might 
well have been developed into a full-blown Trinitarian doctrine of 
the Church. But Shelton Smith may still have been too close to the 
early Barthian and other neo-orthodox reaction against immanental- 
ist theology to realize how dependent Christian nurture is on the 
Holy Spirit. 

(e) As for the Sacraments, omitted from consideration in Faith 
and Nurture, it is instructive to note that his lectures thirteen years 
later in Richmond did stress baptism as sign and seal of the covenant 
within which nurture proceeds, and the Lord's Supper as means of 

66. "Christian Faith and Its Communication," the unpublished typescript 
consisting of "condensed notes" for Professor Smith's August 2-12, 1954 
lectures, available in his personal files. 

67. The Holy Spirit was mentioned briefly, but the doctrine not developed, 
on pp. 142, 144, and 146 of Faith and Nurture. 

68. Ibid., p. 167. 


grace and nurture. 69 That same year, too — remembering or forget- 
ting his own earlier omission? — he remarked critically the failure of 
an important new book in Christian education to take into account 
the place of the Sacraments in Christian nurture! 70 

(2) In Faith and Nurture he intended neither historical nor 
comprehensive interpretation of the Church but emphasis on aspects 
of the doctrine neglected in religious educational theory. 71 This 
neglect and even unconcern on the part of religious educators could 
be attributed, he suggested, to such factors as the relative autonomy 
of the Sunday school, to the influence of secular educational theory, 
to liberal concern with the Kingdom of God in contradistinction to 
the Church, to pre-occupation with "religion" or "religious expe- 
rience" rather than the merely instrumental religious institution, 
and to the pervasive influence of sect-type Protestant emphasis on 
experimental religion and the voluntary fellowship. 72 While Smith 
could acknowledge that American Protestantism generally shared 
with liberal nurture this ecclesiological deficiency, he could now hail 
a "rising tide of interest" in the doctrine of the Church but at the 
same time lament the unresponsiveness and even resistance of some 
religious educators. 73 He was concerned that Christian educators 
see the Church as a distinctive community of Christian nurture: as 
(a) the "community of the divine initiative," (b) the "community 
of the ultimate fulfilment of life," (c) "the Christian center of com- 
munity," and (d) the "community of divine mediation." 74 A brief 
notice of each of these themes, some already developed in other parts 
of his book, will sum up his teaching. 

(a) He began with a characteristic theocentric perspective on 
the Church as the "community of the divine initiative" : 

... the Church claims to be a distinctive community in respect of its 
origin. It is the Christian faith that the Church emerged in history, 
not through the anticipation of man but through the antecedent determi- 
nation of God. It believes itself to have come into being through the 

69. Lectures Seven and Eight, "Christian Faith and Its Communication," 
op. cit., pp. 27ff. and 32ff. 

70. In a review of James D. Smart, The Teaching Ministry of the Church 
(The Westminster Press, 1954), published in The Westminster Bookman. 

71. Faith and Nurture, pp. 140f. 

72. Ibid., pp. 136-139. 

73. Ibid., pp. 139f. : Some perceived in this new doctrinal interest "a subtle 
method to enslave religion in a new form of authoritarianism; some ... a 
mode of ecclesiastical introversion; and others ... a sign of escape from the 
realities of the current social crisis." 

74. From chapter subtitles, ibid., pp. 141, 146, 151, 166. 


creative act of the Divine Initiative, as manifested in the Word made 
flesh in Jesus Christ. 75 

Echoing Edinburgh here, he proceeded with current theology and 
historical scholarship to affirm that Jesus was, if not formally and 
consciously, at least essentially, the founder of the Church : 

(Jesus) became the center of a community which in essence constituted 
the Church. The immediate fruit of Jesus' ministry was neither a New 
Testament nor a formal institution. It was, rather, a dynamic fellowship 
whose creative center was God as incarnated in Christ. This fellowship 
underwent a process of growth in its understanding of Jesus Christ, and 
also in its apprehension of its nature and mission under Christ's leader- 
ship. 76 

This early Christian community was conscious of "its religious con- 
tinuity . . . with the Old Israel," but also increasingly aware of 
being "a New Israel" with "the ardent faith that the promised Mes- 
siah had already entered history in the person of Jesus Christ, and 
that this same Christ would also shortly return to consummate the 
Kingdom of God." 77 This New Israel, however, had "a growing 
assurance that God through Christ had offered mankind a new center 
of fellowship," and its dynamic was "the Holy Spirit, which the 
early Christians recognized as the gracious gift of God." 78 

These quotations representing Shelton Smith's new understanding 
of the Church in terms of the divine initiative could be sharply con- 
trasted with left-wing liberal reduction of the Church to "an emergent 
of the social process." 79 Yet his criticism was tempered here with 
appreciation of truth in such perspectives of the social sciences, in 
which his own earlier thought had been rooted. He acknowledged 
that "the Church as a reality of history emerges within the social 
matrix and mediates its message through existing patterns of human 
culture .... the relative forms of imperfect society. Only thus in 
fact would Christian nurture be at all possible." 80 Indeed, without 
such empirical understanding Christian nurture was in danger of 
"dogmatism and obscurantism." But with this social character, the 
"supra-social" origin of the Christian fellowship must also be recog- 

75. Ibid., p. 141. This section is sprinkled with references to the literature 
of the Edinburgh Conference on Faith and Order and to other current studies 
of the beginnings of the Church. 

76. Ibid., p. 142. 

77. Ibid., p. 143. 

78. Ibid., p. 144. 

79. Ibid. 

80. Ibid., p. 145. 


nized (as in this significant but uncommon word of Smith about the 
Holy Spirit) : 

The Church is, for faith, the unique creation of God in Christ and in 
the Holy Spirit. This is the basis for being a true koinonia, a true com- 
munity of the Spirit. Human creatures are bound together in Christian 
fellowship, but the uniting bond of that fellowship is God-given. Human 
creatures experience fellowship with one another in the Spirit, but they do 
not create the Spirit. Human culture fashions the forms through which 
the Christian fellowship nurtures human creatures, but culture does not 
generate the living reality that sustains the forms. 81 

Here, if only it could have been developed, was a promise of rap- 
prochement between the nurture well founded in the social sciences 
and the new theology corrected by a more meaningful doctrine of 
the Spirit. 

(b) The Church is also the "community of ultimate fulfilment 
of life." With this theme Smith could develop for ecclesiology the 
basic positions on eschatology and ethics of his second chapter, 
"Beyond the Social-Gospel Idea of the Kingdom of God." 82 He 
related this second point closely to the first: 

As the Church is a community whose creative source transcends the 
empirical world-process, so the Church is a community whose ultimate 
fulfilment points beyond the plane of historical existence. If the Church 
has its ultimate origin in the Kingdom of God, it has also its ultimate 
consummation only in the Kingdom of God. . . . the Kingdom is the 
normative reality of the Church and of Christian nurture. . . . the his- 
torical Church is in disparity with the Kingdom, and therefore is under 
its judgment. 83 

The Christian community remains always of "contradictory or am- 
bivalent character" ; the Body of Christ "knows itself to be a very 
imperfect body"; the Church has always fallen short of "the per- 
fection of the Kingdom"; and both historical experience and theo- 
logical realism warn against any hope that the Church can "nurture 
human life into absolute fulfilment of Christian fellowship on the 
plane of historical existence." 84 Here Smith did not need to review 
at length his earlier indictments of liberal evolutionary optimism 
over progressive "social realization of the Kingdom." 85 He was 
more immediately exercised over the opposite theological perversion, 
whether in the defense of slavery in the Old South or in the political 

81. Ibid., p. 146. 

82. Ibid., pp. 33-66, especially pp. 54ff. and 61ff. 

83. Ibid., pp. 146f. 

84. Ibid., pp. 147-149. Here he cited the support of Reinhold Niebuhr, C. H. 
Dodd, and other spokesmen of "current religious thought." 

85. Ibid., p. 148. 


docility of German Christians speaking at Madras, which "in effect 
sanctions the existing structure of society in the name of an abso- 
lutely transcendent Kingdom of God." 86 In a key paragraph Shelton 
Smith declared his own position as to what it means to acknowledge 
the Kingdom of God as "the normative reality of the Church and 
of Christian nurture" : 87 

A realistic Christian nurture, then, is not at liberty to dissolve the 
ethical tension that exists between the Church and the Kingdom of God, 
either by way of an optimistic liberalism that tends to equate the Kingdom 
with an ideal social community, or by way of a pessimistic dualism that 
transfers the realm of the Kingdom to a world totally outside the process 
of human history. The world of social history is neither a demonic 
vacuum nor is it the plane on which perfection of fellowship is achieved. 
The Church is a community that nurtures mankind in the faith that even 
though perfect fellowship may not be realized on the plane of human 
history, yet history is the scene in which the Kingdom is at work among 
men, and may be indefinitely approximated. The Church is also a com- 
munity that lives in the faith that ultimate fulfilment of life in the 
Kingdom of God is assured. 88 

(c) From this position, as foundational for his Christian ethics as 
for Christian nurture, he proceeded to develop under his next point 
on "the Christian center of community" what was essentially a 
critical social ethic. Here he could pour forth the concerns and ma- 
terials of years of courses (and action!) in Christian ethics. In some 
ways this development is not integral to Faith and Nurture: it is 
minimally doctrinal, deals with nurture only secondarily, and though 
trenchantly critical of Church and culture, contains no word of 
polemic against progressive religious education or liberal theology ; 
indeed, it even makes approving use of two of George A. Coe's 
books and echoes liberal ethics — though with a crucially different 
norm of community in Christ. In another way it is theologically 
salutary that this book on the Christian faith and Christian nurture 
provided the context of an emerging doctrine of the Church, and 
that this ecclesiology was the context of a social ethic (albeit hardly 
integral to the developing argument of the book). 89 This social 

86. Ibid., pp. 149f. 

87. Ibid., p. 147. 

88. Ibid., p. 151. 

89. That this was not a fortuitous development, however, but related to the 
progress in Shelton Smith's own thought, is suggested by a discernible under- 
lying continuity in his intellectual and professional pilgrimage at Duke, where 
he began with studies in religious education which included social reconstruction 
and American civilization, moved into current theology, Christian ethics, and 
American thought, eventually omitting religious education, and finally settled 
in American religious thought. See my first article, op. cit., especially pp. 133f. 


ethic was rooted, then, in the Church as understood in terms of 
the preceding points, but more especially in terms of its essential 
oneness in Christ, "the unifying center of Christian fellowship." 90 
Normatively, as in the New Testament (anchor of all these points 
on the Church), 91 the Church knows itself to be "one community" 
by virtue of "this Christocentric bond." 92 

This essential unity in Christ distinguishes the Christian com- 
munity from other empirical communities, and especially from those 
which tend to ascribe ultimacy to their "unifying bonds" of nation, 
class, or race. In those beginning war years (this was written 
between 1939 and 1941), it was all too evident how such corporate 
idolatries imperiled human relationships and human existence itself. 
"Unless these empirical entities . . . can find a center beyond them- 
selves," Shelton Smith gravely warned, "the future of world com- 

(including note 23) and 137f., on the development of these successive teaching 
fields out of his investigations of the crisis, context, and historical background 
of religious educational thought. 

The Christian social ethic of Faith and Nurture was thus not a new 
emergent but a converted one. Shortly after Shelton Smith came to Duke as 
Professor of Religious Education, the School of Religion catalog for April 
1932 included this course: "Religious Education in Social Reconstruction. 
Following the consideration of religious education as a social process, one or 
more major social issues in contemporary civilization will be critically examined 
from the standpoint of education's contribution toward social reconstruction." 
By April 1937 this progressive educational approach had evolved into "Ethical 
Theory of Christian Education. The implications of Christian ethics for reli- 
gious education in contemporary society." 

In the April 1938 catalog he had become Professor of Christian Ethics and 
Religious Education and was offering a new course listed under Philosophy of 
Religion as "Christian Ethics. An historical and systematic study of Christian 
conceptions of the moral life and its problems." In May 1940 he had a new 
"Seminar in Christian Ethics. A critical study of selected problems" — in what 
was now the department of Philosophy of Religion and Christian Ethics. By 
the next year, May 1941 (Faith and Nurture was published that November), 
he was simply Professor of Christian Ethics, and no longer offered courses in 
Religious Education". 

In the restructured curriculum of the May 1945 catalog the new Division of 
Historical Studies included the new department of American Religious Thought, 
in which Shelton Smith listed seven courses (including "Social Thought in 
American Christianity," "Modern American Christology," and period surveys), 
while still listing others in the department of Christian Ethics and Philosophy 
of Religion, in the Division of Theological Studies. By May 1946 he could 
leave Christian Ethics to Waldo Beach and settle into historical studies as 
Professor of American Religious Thought. (See the Bulletin of the School of 
Religion of Duke University, 1932-1946, passim.) Thus has his scholarly 
career instanced that favorite progressive theme of "continuity and change." 

90. Faith and Nurture, p. 151. 

91. He cited particularly I Corinthians 1:12-13 ("Is Christ divided?") and 
Ephesians 4:4-6 ("one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of 
all, who is over all, and through all, and in all"). 

92. Faith and Nurture, pp. 151f. 


munity is dark." 93 It became the unique responsibility of the Church 
to declare the true and ultimate center of community in such tragic 
times. But the Church had so obscured or denied its essential one- 
ness by its practice, succumbing to the same tensions which divide 
the world, that it could neither witness prophetically in society nor 
rightly nurture its own. Yet Smith saw some hope that the Church 
might be awakened to its true unity in Christ and to the divisive 
forces from which it needed rescue. 94 

In analyzing certain of these "factors creating empirical disunity 
in the Church as a nurturing community," he undertook at some 
length (as we need not here) both a Christian critique of contem- 
porary culture and an exposure of the crises of an acculturated 
Church. One of those divisive factors was economic. From the 
standpoint of "its essential being as the Body of Christ," Smith de- 
clared, "the Church is a community of nurture which cannot recog- 
nize men as economic men, but only as persons made in the image of 
God and therefore as equal sons of the same Father." 95 But in 
Western culture, economic interests had become autonomous and 
then normative social values ; and the Church had both sanctioned 
such autonomy and accommodated to the "ethic of the economic 
man" to the point of becoming a "class church" and nurturing its 
young in a "class religion." 96 Another division was racial. Although 
essentially a "supra-racial" Church, for which "men are never race 
men" but equal sons of God in common fellowship, the Christian 
community had taken on and reproduced the racial tensions and pat- 
terns of society. The logic of this racialism would be "the emergence 
of racial religions" and the racial absolutism of Nazism. "This chal- 
lenge," said Shelton Smith, "makes it all the more imperative for 
American Christianity to mitigate the evils of racialism. The Church's 
first step is to transcend racial disunity within its own household, 
otherwise the very nurture which it generates will be reduced to 
further impotency." 97 Nationalism, the third divisive force, Smith 
regarded as "perhaps the most characteristic feature of modern 
civilization." Analyzing the rise of the newer "primitive religion" 
of extreme nationalism, he took it to be both a judgment on and a 
threat to the Church: a judgment in that the failure of traditional 
religion was a factor in the turn to new centers of ultimate devo- 

93. Ibid., p. 152. 

94. Ibid., pp. 152f. 

95. Ibid., pp. 153f. 

96. Ibid., pp. 154-157. 

97. Ibid., pp. 157160. Someone should soon write the story of Shelton 
Smith's long-time crusade for racial justice! 


tion; a threat both in overt rivalry and in pervasive nationalist in- 
fluence in the Church itself, in spite of the fact that "in its essential 
being the Church is one universal community, transcending all 
cultural and national limits." 98 

The fourth dividing influence, sectarianism or denominationalism, 
was of the empirical Church itself rather than a corruption by so- 
ciety." Smith deplored the fragmenting of the one Body of Christ 
into numerous differing churches, "each regarding itself as a true 
Church, if not the only one." He called for a more vigorous post- 
war ecumenical initiative on the part of the churches themselves to 
overcome their disunity. It would not suffice to celebrate the present 
transcendent unity of the Church in Christ: that should entail not a 
complacency but a sense of "divine judgment against our dissident 
historical churches." He especially lamented the "restrictive and 
ambiguous" character of sectarian nurture which prepared the child 
for sectarian churchmanship even while suggesting that he belonged 
to the whole Church. 100 In view of such sectarianism, then, and of 
the nationalistic, racialist, and class commitments of the acculturated 
Church, "it cannot be denied that the Church itself is devoid of a 
radical consciousness of Christ as the supra-social center of Christian 
community. In this unhappy situation," Shelton Smith concluded, 
"the empirical Church thus inevitably nurtures both children and 
adults in something less than one community in Jesus Christ." 101 

(d) The Church is a distinctive community of Christian nurture, 
finally, in that it is a "community of divine mediation." Turning 
from critical ethic to more evangelical proclamation, Shelton Smith 
drew into his new context of the doctrine of the Church the essence 
of earlier declarations about man and Christ and salvation. But now, 
with less of analytical and critical exposition, they could be offered 
in more organic unity and positive witness. 

The very existence of the Church, he premised, bears witness to 
the gravity of man's predicament, the inadequacy of any human com- 
munity to deliver him, and his need for God's special saving action 
in Jesus Christ as "the Mediator through whom God redeems men 
and unites them to Himself as a Christian community." 102 As be- 
fore, Smith represented the "mediative role" of Jesus Christ under 

98. Ibid., pp. 160-162. 

99. He could have made this fourth point commensurate with the others, 
however, by citing H. Richard Niebuhr, The Social Sources of Denomina- 
tionalism (Henry Holt and Company, 1929). 

100. Faith and Nurture, pp. 163-166. 

101. Ibid., p. 166. 

102. Ibid., pp. 166f. 


two aspects, both basic to Christian nurture: God's judgment on 
"a world of sinful existence," and the gospel of his forgiving love in 
Christ. 103 But in the present context, and recalling the perennial 
intrusion of the world's ways into the Church, he emphasized that 
the judgment of God in Christ "is mediated not merely through the 
Church to the world, but also, and first of all, to the world in the 
Church itself. . . . Therefore, divine judgment through the Church 
must always 'begin at the house of God.' " 104 

As he reformulated this word of judgment and of mercy for the 
Church, however, Shelton Smith evidently thought in terms of the 
evangel to the individual member rather than to the erring corporate 
community. The essence of the matter, and indeed, apart from his 
ecclesiology, the recurring main doctrinal theme of Faith and Nurture, 
came to this : 

Divine judgment upon human sinfulness presupposes a revelation in 
history of the true end of human existence. It is thus the faith of the 
Church that the Word became flesh in Jesus Christ not only to reveal the 
true character of God, but also to disclose what man is in his essential 
nature. From the perspective of the Incarnation man is not only a 
sinner; he is a child of God. In the Word made flesh man sees himself 
not only as one who is estranged from the Kingdom of God, but also as 
one who may be redeemed into loving fellowship with the Father. Thus 
man is conscious of the divine judgment only because he is aware that his 
conduct contradicts the law of Christ, which is the law of love. . . . Unless 
man does know himself to be under divine judgment, there is not the 
slightest possibility that he will seek personal salvation. . . . But if judg- 
ment is a necessary element in the nurture of the Christian community, 
it does not of itself restore man to fellowship in the Kingdom of 
God. ... A recognition of this fact at once discloses the other aspect of 
the mediating role of Christ. For in Jesus Christ the Kingdom of God 
comes to mankind not merely in judgment but in mercy. The ultimate 
character of the gospel reveals itself not in condemnation but in a love 
that "taketh away the sins of the world." From the perspective of divine 
love, the gospel is "good news," not unmitigated judgment. ... A God 
whose "wrath" against human sinfulness is sharper than a two-edged 
sword is yet a God who does not reckon the repentant believer's tres- 
passes against him. This paradoxical truth eludes every canon of human 
reason, yet it is the wisdom of the gospel. 105 

Smith found the preaching and teaching of the modern Church 
deficient of this paradoxical "wisdom of the gospel," and especially 
in regard to the gospel of divine forgiveness. On the one hand, there 
was a "sentimentalist strain" in much of liberal Protestantism that 

103. Ibid., pp. 167, 169. 

104. Ibid., p. 167, citing I Peter 4:17. 

105. Ibid., pp. 167-169. 


"took God's forgiveness for granted, as something to be expected 
from a loving Father." 106 On the other hand, there were more real- 
istic liberals who repudiated the "mushy sentimentalism" of this 
"saccharine gospel" and preached instead a more rigorous gospel of 
"ethical righteousness" in devotion to Jesus' ideals of altruistic love, 
forgiveness of enemies, and loyal service to the Kingdom of God. 107 
But Smith saw in this supposed realism an actually unrealistic opti- 
mism about human goodness and moral ability : it too was a "senti- 
mental gospel" revealing "the complacency of a moralistic and self- 
saving culture." A more truly realistic gospel must recognize the 
depths of the human predicament and offer the saving mercy of 
divine deliverance. 108 Only this, Shelton Smith was saying through- 
out his book, would serve for the renewal of Christian faith and 

Faith and Nurture was given quick and wide currency as the 
November, 1941 selection of the Religious Book Club, and extensive 
reviews in leading theological and ecclesiastical journals. Its circula- 
tion mounted through repeated printings in the next decade, and only 
recently has it gone out of print (to the dismay of librarians and 
theological students who need this unique chapter in the development 
of religious education and thus of American religious thought). 
Response to Faith and Nurture was varied and vigorous. It was the 
focus of a discussion on "Has Religious Education Departed from 
the Faith?" at the meeting of the Professors and Research Section 
of the International Council of Religious Education in February, 
1942, led by critics Harrison S. Elliott, William Clayton Bower, 
and Donald W. Riddle, along with advocate E. O. Homrighausen. 109 
Stewart G. Cole also read a paper which included a strong critique 
of Smith's views. The International Journal of Religious Education 
gave attention to the book in four successive issues, with an intro- 
ductory summary review by editor Percy R. Hayward, a "trenchant 
criticism" by Bower, a "spirited and pointed reply" by Shelton 
Smith, and a concluding editorial statement by Hayward. 110 As for 

106. Ibid., p. 169. 107. Ibid., pp. 169-171. 

108. Ibid., pp. 171f. 

109. Smith was not present ; he was involved in lectures. See p. 125 below. 

110. See Hay ward's review in International Journal of Religious Education, 
XVIII, No. 3 (November 1941), p. 38; W. C. Bower, "Has Christian Edu- 
cation Departed from the Faith?" in ibid., XVIII, No. 4 (December 1941), pp. 
3, 32; H. S. Smith, "A Reply to Dr. Bower," ibid., XVIII, No. S (January 
1942), pp. 3, 36; and P. R. Hayward, "How Liberal Is Christian Education?" 
in ibid., XVIII, No. 6 (February 1942), pp. 3, 7. 


the Religious Education Association, its journal Religions Education 
promptly carried Edward Scribner Ames' hostile review and Cole's 
critical address. 111 Meanwhile veteran progressive George A. Coe 
and New Testament scholar Riddle joined the issues with Smith 
through lengthy correspondence, as did Elliott, Bower, and others 
through reviews and letters. It would be instructive, if space and 
propriety allowed, to examine this controversial correspondence 
here. 112 

But a study of the voluminous file of letters about Faith and 

111. For Ames' review, see Religious Education, XXXVII, No. 1 (January- 
February 1942), pp. 60f. ; and for Stewart G. Cole's paper to the Professors and 
Research Section, "The Place of Christian Education in a Crisis of Cultures," 
ibid., XXXVII, No. 2 (March-April 1942), pp. 80-94. It was Cole's paper at 
the 1936 Religious Education Association meeting which Smith had attacked in 
his address and article, "Is Religious Naturalism Enough?"— his first open 
break with the R. E. A. 

112. Harrison S. Elliott, Coe's successor at Union Theological Seminary, 
and strong defender of progressive religious education against neo-orthodoxy in 
his book, Can Religious Education Be Christian? (The Macmillan Company, 
1940), again defended the progressives' positions, yielding little to Smith, 
countering strongly, and discerningly suspecting "that Dr. Smith is nearer 
to the liberal religious education which he criticizes than his sweeping and 
drastic criticisms would seem to indicate." (See Elliott's review in the May 
1942 Review of Religion, pp. 184-188.) 

We may be permitted one illuminating paragraph from Smith's letter of 
May 15, 1942 in reply to Elliott's review : "As a subscriber to The Review of 
Religion, I saw your review of my book a few days ago. Feeling as you do, 
you must have labored considerably to avoid kicking me down the steps of the 
modern house of religious education. I am glad you found the chapter on the 
church somewhat to your liking. That chapter is to me, too, the best one in the 
book. I think I could write my present positive viewpoint wholly in terms of 
the framework of that chapter. In that case do you think I would come out a 
liberal ?" 

Perhaps the most significant exchange was between Smith and Coe, whom 
Smith admired and acknowledged to be the "pathfinder" and foremost spokes- 
man of progressive religious education, but whom he therefore most often 
quoted in criticizing that movement. While we cannot here analyze their con- 
tinuing arguments, two brief quotations from Coe's letter of January 9, 1942 
are too characteristic of this undaunted liberal to omit. Said Coe: 

". . . Let me say that your book has selected passages that, as far as they 
go, are on the whole truly representative of my thought. As I came upon the 
mounting number of them, I was somewhat thrilled to realize how many good 
things I have managed to say! But why in the world didn't you quote the 
passages that, from your point of view, are the most damning ones? I am 
far, far more guilty than you have made me out to be, for from my student 
days onward I have rejected what I suppose to be the essential presuppositions 
that underlie your criticisms of my views." 

Finally, after analysis of their differences with regard to "ethical love" in 
religious education, Coe concluded that same letter thus: "What, then? Only 
this: Faith, hope, love abide, 'and the greatest of these is love.' Paul was 
speaking of love of men for one another. This abides between you and me, 
though one of us certainly is mistaken in his thinking about it. Faithfully yours, 
George A. Coe." 


Nurture, along with the collection of about twenty-five reviews, 
would show their tenor to be predominantly appreciative, often 
highly laudatory. Since names of critics have already appeared above, 
it is but fair to cite a selection of more favorable respondents, includ- 
ing William Adams Brown, Halford E. Luccock, F. Ernest Johnson, 
Edwin Lewis, Carl H. Voss, E. McNeill Poteat, Harry T. Stock, 
Arlo Ayres Brown, Elmer O. Homrighausen, John C. Bennett, Nels 
F. S. Ferre, and Paul H. Vieth. Add Bishop Paul B. Kern, a leading 
educational statesman in Methodism and a resident of Durham during 
a period of Shelton Smith's early wrestling with the faith of religious 
education. Bishop Kern read Faith and Nurture and told the General 
Board of Education that it was an "epoch-making" book which they 
must take into account (but that Board was slow to understand or 
acknowledge such a theological critique of liberal religious educa- 
tion! ). 

Thus the range of responses was varied, and far too significant 
for detailed analysis and representation here. In general, there were 
some whose progressive views he had most sharply attacked (Coe, 
Bower, Ames, for examples) who countered by characterizing Shel- 
ton Smith's critique as a regrettable expression of resurgent theo- 
logical authoritarianism. Bower closed his counter-criticism with 
the lament that "one so forceful and so able" had elected to join 
their "contemporary ancestors" ; 113 and Ames concluded with the 
implication that Smith had successfully illuminated two irrecon- 
cilably divergent ways in religious education, his way and theirs ; and 
they had no misgivings over which was right and appropriate to 
this century! 114 Some were willing to acknowledge the corrective 
value of Smith's positions, but regarded his book as too negative or 
as too severely critical of the less representative, more extreme side 
of modern religious education. Others agreed with Smith in the main 
but cavilled at isolated particulars. A few were objective — and per- 
ceptive — enough to see that Smith's intention was constructive as 
well as critical, and to discern in his views a productive tension be- 
tween his continuing liberal commitments and his neo-Reformation 
perspectives. Some welcomed the resolute application to religious 
education of a theological credo congenial with their older conserva- 
tism or their emerging neo-orthodoxy. Many of various persuasions 
hailed the book as the salutary beginning of a new day in Christian 
education, and called on Smith to proceed beyond this theological 

113. Bower, op. cit., p. 36. 

114. Ames, op. cit., p. 61. 


ground-clearing to the positive construction of a new philosophy of 
Christian nurture. 

That reconstructive task, however, he left largely to others. 
Moreover, with the publication of Faith and Nurture he discontinued 
offering courses in "religious education" and occupied himself with 
Christian ethics and increasingly with the development of American 
religious thought. But Shelton Smith had not entirely "left the 
field" of religious education. Indeed, as he privately interprets his 
pilgrimage (and as we have endeavored to show), 115 his later work 
in American thought is in continuity with his earlier teaching and 
study in religious education. He is still enough of a disciple of 
Dewey and Coe to think of religion in its cultural aspects, and to 
be on the side of the religious reconstruction rather than merely the 
conservation of culture; and he can see his work with history of 
thought as a continuing effort "to liberate from the shibboleths of 
the past" through the study of cultural dynamics and cultural evolu- 
tion. Hence he can answer questioners that he has not so much 
changed fields as followed out the line of earlier development. In- 
deed, from his present vantage-point he can look back on Faith and 
Nurture as "a tract for the times," and in the present post-neo- 
orthodox climate, can emphasize the need for better appreciation of 
our corrected but continuing "evangelical liberalism." 116 

Even in the narrower sense, however, he did not "leave the 
field" of religious education so precipitously as some have thought. 
Although his major contribution had been made, he occasionally 
wrote or lectured on theological reconstruction in Christian nurture, 
for more than a decade. More than brief mention here would be 
anti-climactic, but omission of the following instances would leave 
the story incomplete : 

( 1 ) Notice has already been taken of his lectures on "Faith and 
Nurture in Contemporary Protestant Thought" at Eden Theological 
Seminary and Pacific School of Religion in February, 1942 (while his 
book was being discussed at the International Council of Religious 
Education) and again at Austin Presbyterian Seminary in 1947. 
On the whole these addresses simply expressed more popularly the 
substance of his book, on the theological crisis of religious educa- 
tion and the themes of human existence, Christ, and the Church. 
Among the significant additions, however, was a more adequate 
recognition of the meaning of the Holy Spirit than we found in 

115. See my preceding footnote 89, including its references to the first 
article in this series on Shelton Smith. 

116. These interpretations are from conversations with Shelton Smith. 


Faith and Nurture. There he had emphasized that the Church has 
its origin and destiny in God, and its historical beginning and ethical 
norm in Jesus Christ; but now, with fuller Trinitarian idiom, he 
attended also to the theme of its "continuing life ... in the power of 
the Holy Spirit." 117 Within the Church as the "reconciled and 
reconciling community," he affirmed, "a truly reconciled creature is 
in some essential sense a new creature." To be a new creature in 
Christ, according to Paul, meant that "Christ is both for us (Christus 
pro nobis) and in us (Christus in nobis). Christ not only justifies 
us ; He renews us through his Spirit. By the Spirit the new creature 
bears witness to his sonship. . . . But by the Spirit also men grow 
more like Christ." 118 This Pauline "assurance both of God's forgiving 
love and of our blessed privilege, through the Spirit, of growing more 
like Christ," underscored for Smith "a truth of highest importance" 
in the doctrine of religious growth revived by Bushnell and empha- 
sized by modern religious education. Without relaxing his guard 
against "romantic" or "perfectionist illusions," he warned, "Woe be 
unto the Church if it ever again allows this fundamental truth to 
slip into the background of its consciousness. For the Christian is 
growing, continually growing, or else he is spiritually decaying. . . . 
continuous growth toward perfection is both a divine imperative and 
a human possibility." 119 Readers of Faith and Nurture might be 
surprised at this further doctrinal undergirding of Christian nurture. 
(2) During the next decade Shelton Smith published three major 
articles bearing on theology and nurture. "There are some signs that 
modern Protestant nurture may be on the threshold of a deeper per- 
ception of the realities of Christian faith," he declared in the opening 
sentence of his article late in 1942 on "The Supremacy of Christ 
in Christian Nurture" 120 (which we have discussed already). In 
February, 1947 he read a paper (published in 1948) on "Evangelical 
Christian Nurture" before the Professors' Section of the Interna- 
tional Council of Religious Education. 121 Concerned for "the evangel- 
ical nature of Christian nurture," Smith attributed the prevalent 
"evangelical impotence" largely to the growing secularization of the 
Church and the faith and the correlative obscuring of normative 
Biblical understanding of the human predicament and God's redemp- 

117. From Lecture Four, "The Church: Community of Faith and Nurture," 
p. 6 (of the unpublished typescript). 
118. /&«*., pp. llf., 16. 
l\9. Ibid., PP. 14, 16f. 

120. Religion in Life, XII, No. 1 (Winter, 1942-43), pp. 31-40. 

121. Religion in Life, XVII, No. 4 (Autumn, 1948), pp. 549-558. 


tive action in Christ. 122 If these were familiar themes by now, they 
were developed with freshness and relevance, and with certain note- 
worthy accents : for example (a) his insistence that the principle of 
"radical tension . . . between self-sovereignty and Divine sovereignty" 
precludes not only immanentalist liberal optimism but also the doc- 
trines of total depravity associated with orthodoxy and with Barth's 
view of the "wholly other"; 123 and (b) a glowing precis of the 
conflict of self-sovereignty and divine reconciliation, culminating thus : 

For one thing, there is the persistent awareness, however vague, that in 
the vicarious act of the Cross God, in Christ, bore the ultimate weight 
of human sin and thereby enabled the tension-bound self to trust in his 
reconciling love. Secondly, there is the grateful admission that one 
owes his final victory over self-sovereignty to a mercy that is unmerited. 
. . . Lastly, there is the consciousness that the new creature in Christ 
belongs to a Community without social or temporal boundaries, and 
beyond human construction. 124 

The third article was a very different one — a remarkable tribute to 
"George Albert Coe: Revaluer of Values," 125 published the year 
after Coe's death in 1951. This appreciative account of Coe's reli- 
gious and intellectual development and contributions to American 
religious thought was written "to discharge 'a debt to a man who 
was one of my warmest friends, despite our disagreement at certain 
theological points.' " 12e Perhaps the theological climate may soon 
be favorable for a new revaluation of enduring contributions of Coe, 
with Shelton Smith's appreciation as a beginning point ! 

(3) It was suggested earlier in this paper that the section on 
the Church was the most constructive part of Faith and Nurture; 
indeed, Smith had responded to friendly critic Elliott's preference 
for that chapter with the word, "The chapter is to me, too, the best 
one in the book. I think I could write my present positive viewpoint 
wholly in terms of the framework of that chapter." 127 While he 
was increasingly too absorbed in other areas of scholarship and teach- 
ing to follow out that possibility, he did later consent to give a 
series of nine lectures to the Presbyterian Assembly's Training 
School in Richmond, Virginia, August 2-12, 1954, on "Christian 

122. Ibid., pp. 549, 551. 

123. Ibid., pp. 554f. 

124. Ibid., p. 558. 

125. Religion in Life, XXII, No. 1 (Winter, 1952-53), pp. 46-57. 

126. Ibid., p. 46n. For other tributes to Coe, see the entire issue of Re- 
ligious Education, XLVII, No. 2 (March-April 1952), which includes also 
an extensive bibliography of Coe's writings. 

127. See footnote 112, above. 


Faith and Its Communication" ; 128 and these were developed around 
the doctrine of the Church for Christian nurture. Convinced that 
beneath the apparent prosperity of American Protestantism the 
churches were spiritually defensive, and "on the whole, captives of 
the ruling moral ideals and social patterns of our culture," he declared 
that "our primary concern is how to undergo renewal of the Church 
itself" ; and while such renewal is not man's work but God's gracious 
action, man's preparation for it requires "in understanding of what 
the Church was designed to be." 129 For lack of such insight in 
American Protestantism, "Christian nurture has never fulfilled its 
true mission in the life of the Christian fellowship" ; witness its one- 
sided or partial objectives — whether child-centered, character- 
centered, or Bible-centered — and its structural cleavages between the 
Sunday school and the Church, and between worship and instruc- 
tion. 130 In developing an ecclesiology for Christian nurture, Smith 
leaned heavily on the Biblical guidance of T. W. Manson {The 
Church's Ministry) and C. H. Dodd {The Apostolic Preaching), and 
especially on Pauline teaching (including Ephesians) ; and, speaking 
to Presbyterians, he incorporated much of Calvin and the Calvinistic 
tradition to recall them to their heritage. On these bases he developed 
his conception of the ministry of the whole Christian community; of 
the content of this ministry as both kerygma for those outside and 
didache for those within the household of God ; of Biblical and 
theological renewal of the Christian fellowship for its kerygmatic and 
nurturing ministries as well as its social mission ; of the place of 
children in the convenant family and community, and the importance 
of the Sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper in this covenant 

128. The material of these lectures remains in thirty-eight pages of 
"condensed notes" which were never expanded and revised for publication. 
Moreover, Shelton Smith, peripatetic and expressive lecturer that he is, had 
not allowed a tape recording. The outline of the lectures follows : 

"The Christian Faith and Its Communication" 

1. The Paradox of American Protestantism 

2. A Primority for Christian Nurture : An Adequate Doctrine of the 

Church ("Primority" was Smith's word for it.) 

3. The Household of God: Its Nature and Structure 

4. The Ministry of the Divine Household : Kerygma and Didache 

5. Renewing the Household for its Kerygmatic Mission 

6. Sharing the Scriptures within the Household of God 

7. Children of the Covenant 

8. The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper 

9. The Divine Household in its Social Mission. 

129. "The Christian Faith and Its Communication," pp. 4f. (of the type- 

130. Ibid., pp. 6f. 


life and nurture. 131 Even this brief notice of his "condensed notes" 
of the lectures shows that Shelton Smith still had much to say to 
Christian nurture. 

(4) This study may be drawn to a close with acknowledgment 
of one other essay — his chapter on "Christian Education" in the 
volume edited by Arnold S. Nash on Protestant Thought in the 
Twentieth Century: Whence and Whither? (1951). 132 Since each 
contributor to this symposium was to review developments in his 
respective field during the first half of the century, and then to look 
at trends toward the future, Smith had perforce to go over again much 
of the ground already thoroughly plowed in Faith and Nurture. His 
approach this time was in terms of a leading question, "Do progres- 
sive religious educators have a theology?" In answer, he took note 
briefly of the two main roots of progressive religious education in pro- 
gressive educational theory and liberal immanentalist theology, and of 
their fusion in the thought of George A. Coe, and then proceeded to a 
careful analysis of the explicit and implicit theology of Coe and his 
resistance to "the new current in Protestant thought." 133 As for 
current and future developments, Smith saw three possible courses of 
action for progressive nurture. Progressives might "continue to re- 
affirm their already established theological convictions," as did Coe, 
Bower, and Elliott. Or they might "align themselves with meta- 
physical naturalism and abandon the distinctive Christian tradition 
altogether," as Ernest J. Chave was doing in A Functional Approach 
to Religious Education.™* Or they could "reconstruct their theologi- 
cal foundations in light of the more realistic insights of current 
Christian faith." This, of course, had been the thrust of Shelton 
Smith's own development, and the burden of his professional advo- 
cacy, since 1931 ; and now he could see much hope in the theological 
trends of The Study of Christian Education completed by the Inter- 
national Council of Religious Education in 1947. 135 As one of the 
committee which worked out the section of that Study on "Theologi- 
cal and Educational Foundations," he expressed unconcealed satisfac- 
tion over its replacement of "the older optimistic notion of human 
nature" with a new realism about man's "dual nature" as "child of 

131. Ibid., passim. 

132. Published by The Macmillan Company. See pp. 225-246 for his essay. 

133. Ibid., pp. 225-242. 

134. Ibid., pp. 242f. Chave's book was published by The University of 
Chicago, 1947. 

135. This was issued in eight large mimeographed documents by the Inter- 
national Council of Religious Education, 1947, and rewritten in Paul H. Vieth, 
The Church and Christian Education (Bethany Press, 1947). 


God" and "fallen creature" ; and, secondly, its accent on "the nature 
and special content of the Christian revelation, including the central- 
ity of Christ and his Church." 136 Clearly the desiderata of his 
addresses and book and articles through the years were beginning to 
appear in a theological renewal of faith and nurture! 

When this essay of Shelton Smith's was taking form before mid- 
century, however, such salutary changes on the horizon of Christian 
education were yet like but a cloud the size of a man's hand. Not 
one significant new book in the theological reconception of Christian 
nurture had yet appeared to take up the constructive task bequeathed 
by Faith and Nurture. But not even Shelton Smith could then foresee 
what an extraordinary new burst of theological activity in Christian 
education would occur in the next few years, involving the major 
writers, professors, denominational and interdenominational boards 
and leaders, and many of the denominational curricula. We would 
not claim for Shelton Smith undue credit for such an awakening ; it 
has come through many contributors, and out of the major theological 
movement of our time, and ultimately, as he would insist, from more 
than human initiative. (Nor, on the other hand, would we presume 
his imprimatur for all of these developments ; he would find some too 
superficial, or too timid, or too dogmatically orthodox!) But there 
can be little doubt that among the religious educators he was the 
major prophet of the theological renovation that was needed, and that 
has begun to come about, in the teaching ministry of the Church. 
That reformation must continue! 

136. Smith, "Christian Education," in Arnold S. Nash, editor, Protestant 
Thought in the Twentieth Century, pp. 244f. 

Toward the Renewal of 
Corporate Worship 

Jackson W. Carroll, '56 
Methodist Chaplain, Duke University 

The enigmatic question which Dietrich Bonhoeffer posed in his 
Letters and Papers from Prison continues to trouble many in the 
Church today in the concern for the renewal of worship. "What is 
the place of worship and prayer in an entire absence of religion ?" he 
asked (Letters and Papers from Prison, Fontana, p. 92). If God 
is not to be found on the borders of life, if indeed the borders are 
rapidly being broken through as technology advances, then what 
meaning has worship for us in this kind of an ethos ? The Theological 
Commission on Worship, in making its report to the Fourth Con- 
ference on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches in 
Montreal in 1963, reflected a similar concern. ". . . there is no 
Christian church that is not confronted with the problem of how to 
lead into worship a generation which to a great extent regards the 
transcendent realm, and the life of prayer springing out of it, as 
something too vague and unimportant for its attention" (Faith and 
Order Paper No. 39, p. 3). 

In a real sense, we cannot solve these problems. We cannot force 
the Holy Spirit to renew the Church or its worship. Grace is not 
produced through gimmicks nor is meaningful worship a matter of 
mechanics. Yet this does not mean that we resign ourselves com- 
pletely from any responsibility. Though we cannot be presumptuous 
about the Holy Spirit's working, he may be leading us in new direc- 
tions in worship to which we should be sensitive. 

Before turning to some of these possible new directions, let me 
suggest a definition of Christian worship. Christian worship is the 
celebration by the Church in the midst of the world of the living 
God, of what He has done, is doing, and will do to redeem the world. 
It is the rehearsal of the drama of salvation through which God 
continually confronts us with His purpose for man individually and 
collectively and calls the Church to participate in it. If Christian 
worship is to be understood in this sense, then at least two impli- 
cations follow. 

One implication has to do with the norm of Christian worship. If 


it is Christian worship that we are about, then it is the shape or 
character of God's action which determines and shapes how we 
worship rather than our own subjective feelings. This does not mean 
a rigid orthodoxy of forms of worship to be imposed on all con- 
gregations. Rather it implies considerable freedom as to the forms 
of worship. What is central and determinative is God's action in 
Jesus Christ. All else, including the specific forms of our worship, 
is determined by this central datum. Frederick Herzog, in an essay 
in Worship in Scripture and Tradition, edited by Massey H. Shep- 
herd, reminds us that "The forms of the Christian cultus are not 
perfect and ideal means of communicating the Christian truth. They 
are tentative arrangements of a people that is trying more and more 
fully to grasp the basic datum of its ultimate commitment" (p. 100). 

To consider fully what this "shape of God's action in Jesus Christ" 
means as it shapes Christian worship is beyond the limits of this 
present discussion. One might note the essay by Herzog referred to 
above. It might, however, be said briefly that it is the history of 
Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection, which is decisive. He 
is the New Man, the Second Adam, the "first-born among many 
brethren." To encounter him in corporate worship is to re-enact 
or re-live his history so that our histories are shaped by his. This 
encounter involves a reminder of the God whom we worship ; it 
involves confession and forgiveness ; it involves praise and witness 
to God's Word ; and it involves a response in dedication and offering. 
To put it another way, the encounter involves acknowledgment of 
guilt, redemption, and new life in the community of Christ. How- 
ever the various forms of Christian worship may differ in language, 
symbols, action, and structure, they will have this common core, this 
norm, as their basis. 

The second implication of this definition of worship has to do 
with the relation of worship to the mission of the Church. Worship 
is the celebration in the midst of the world of God's activity. It is 
not the pious withdrawal from the world to some religious realm 
where we meet God. This is what Bonhoeffer was strongly reacting 
against. If God is to be worshipped, then He must be worshipped 
where He is at work, in the midst of the world rather than on the 
borders. This is not to suggest that the Christian community, gath- 
ered to worship, is not aware of a dimension of life that the world 
knows not of, "the peace of God, which passes all understanding." 
Te celebrate God's action as Creator, Sustainer, Judge and Redeemer, 
is to trust deeply that past, present and future belong to Him. Never- 


theless, it is in the world and not apart from it that God makes 
himself known in His action. 

Furthermore, as the Church gathers to worship, she sets up a 
sign in the midst of the world of God's purpose for the world. This 
is to say that the Church's worship is eschatalogical, manifesting the 
new creation in the midst of the old. (See especially a helpful essay 
by Alexander Schmemann, "Theology and Liturgical Tradition," in 
Worship in Scripture and Tradition, Massey H. Shepherd, ed.). 
Worship and mission are not, therefore, separate "activities" of the 
Church. To gather to worship as a Christian congregation is to be 
in mission. 

With this understanding underlying worship, what are some of 
the possibilities for the renewal of our corporate worship? 

The first step towards the renewal of worship which I would 
suggest has to do with the recovery of a more adequate sense of the 
fulness of Christian worship. Christian worship in this country, with 
some notable exceptions, has usually suffered from a one-sided 
emphasis on either Word or Sacrament. Low-church Protestantism 
has, by and large, relegated the Sacraments, especially the Lord's 
Supper, to a place of secondary importance to preaching. Even then, 
some of that which we have called preaching hardly resembles what 
the New Testament understands as proclamation. On the other 
hand, the churches which have stressed the Sacraments have done so 
in many instances in such a way that preaching has been denigrated. 
My plea, then, is for a recovery of the fulness of worship which ele- 
vates neither Word nor Sacrament over the other, but which gives 
both their rightful place. This is no more than the basic Reformation 
insistence that the "Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful 
men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments 
duly administered according to Christ's ordinance" (Articles of 
Religion, No. XIII). 

Why are both needed? It is because a congregation in which the 
interpreted Word is subordinate to the Sacrament is in danger of 
forgetting where the Lord's Supper begins. It is in danger of simply 
repeating old traditions to the point of missing the good news which 
the Sacrament celebrates. Though the situation in present day 
churches which lay heavy emphasis on the Sacrament is far different 
from that of the Middle Ages, it is nevertheless instructive to recall 
that the expression "hocus pocus" grew out of a situation in which 
the hoc est meum corpus, intoned at the altar, was so poorly under- 
stood by the congregation that it did in fact seem to be "hocus pocus." 

On the other hand, for those of us raised in "low-church" Protes- 


tantism, there needs to be an equal recovery of frequent, if not 
weekly, celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. This is 
not simply because our Lord commanded this, but because in this 
celebration, in these visible elements which we take and eat, the deed 
of God in Jesus Christ becomes present to us in a vital way, which 
unfortunately is not always true of our preaching. To receive the 
bread and wine is to receive visible symbols of the living presence 
of the One who died and rose again, in whose life we participate 
in joy and thankfulness. Furthermore, these "earthy" elements of 
bread and wine remind us that it is not apart from the world that we 
are called but rather in the world, even as God was incarnate in 
Jesus of Nazareth. 

It is too much to ask of present-day Methodism, for example, to 
recover the weekly celebration of the Sacrament, in the context of 
an equal emphasis on preaching? As John Deschner has rightly 
said, "There is no single step which could do more to drive trivia 
from Sunday worship than to center it again — as the church in all 
ages has centered it — in the interpreted sacrament" (motive, No- 
vember 1961, p. 7). 

A second need, if worship is to be renewed, is for increased con- 
gregational understanding of worship and participation in its plan- 
ning. I do not believe it unfair to say that most congregations today 
simply do not have the faintest notion of the theology of worship. 
They participate, following the leading of the minister or the prayer 
book, but have little idea of why they do what they do or even of 
what they are doing. Furthermore, they do not have much of a 
voice in planning the worship, and, even if they did, they would not 
know where to begin. 

This implies such practical steps as seminars on the theology and 
practice of worship led by the clergy for the congregation. Occasional 
explanatory services of worship, in which the pastor interprets the 
service as it progresses, are also helpful. The use of printed orders 
of service with a parallel column interpreting the movement of the 
service is another means of aiding the understanding of the congre- 
gation. As for unfamiliar hymns and choral responses, there might be 
congregational rehearsals at the beginning of the service. 

Yet, why should the congregation not also share in the planning 
of certain parts of the service? A number of instances could be cited 
where members of the congregation meet weekly with the clergy to 
share in the preparation of the sermon and the prayers of inter- 
cession which are to be offered. What a difference such "shared 
preaching" and "shared praying" by the "whole people of God" 


would make in many of our present day services ! I dare say that 
our preaching might once more become "a true and lively Word!" 

A third suggestion has to do with the recovery, not only of the 
fulness of worship, but also of the wholeness of the Christian heri- 
tage. In this day of awakened ecumenicity, would not one means of 
making it come alive on the "grass roots" level be to make use of 
liturgies and services from the whole range of the Christian tradi- 
tion? What is being suggested is the occasional use, with adequate 
explanation (perhaps by a representative of the other tradition), 
of liturgies from other traditions. Such using of services should be 
done with the assistance and approval of representatives of the other 
traditions. Nevertheless, to do so is to remind oneself and one's 
congregation that our particular tradition does not have the whole 
of the truth, and that there are significant emphases in divergent 
traditions which need to be recovered and appreciated by others. 

Finally, we, in this country, have a lesson to be learned from the 
so-called Younger Churches of Africa and Asia. Like them, we need 
to exercise the freedom which is ours in Christ to seek and use new 
forms which may help to make worship more indigenous to our age. 
Christians in India, considering this question of making worship in- 
digenous, have said: 

Indigenization is a principle inherent in the Christian 
doctrines of Creation and Redemption, and the Incarnation 
of the Word of God. The cultural elements, music, dance 
and other forms of art in any country, reflect the glory of 
God's creation. Because of man's fallen condition these may 
not in their present form and usage glorify God. For use in 
the Christian context they need to be redeemed or trans- 
formed by the process of bringing these under the judgment 
of Christ (Quoted in Faith and Order Paper No. 39, p. 37). 

Can we in this country not learn from this ? To be sure, the forms 
of worship which have come to us through the various traditions 
are much more indigenous to those of us in the West. They are a 
part of our Western cultural heritage, what some would call our 
"unself-conscious historical consciousness." As a part of our heritage 
these forms have much more meaning for us than, perhaps, for our 
Asian brothers. Nevertheless, is there not considerable indication 
that for many in present-day Western culture the traditional forms, 
particularly their language, have lost their power to communicate? 
Our congregation at the Methodist Center at Duke University has 
used on several occasions the Litany from the Book of Common 


Prayer. It is a very meaningful and strong prayer; yet, smiles can- 
not help but steal across our faces as we pray, "Deliver us from 
privy conspiracies." Of course this is a minor and somewhat ludi- 
crous example ; nevertheless, it is an indication of what may be a 
larger problem, not simply of language, but in all the symbols : art, 
music and action as well as language. What may well be needed in 
worship is something similar to the radical recasting of the cate- 
gories of theology which Bishop Robinson attempts in Honest to God. 

Where is our warrant to do this? Is it not in the freedom which 
is ours in Christ? As was indicated above, God allows us consider- 
able freedom in the forms with which we worship Him. The forms 
are not sacrosanct. What is decisive and normative is that our 
worship be shaped by the character of God's action in Jesus Christ. 

Several examples of attempts at indigenization may be cited. Most 
recent has been the Roman Catholic decision to allow the Mass to 
be celebrated in the vernacular. A beautiful setting of the Mass in 
English has been done by a young American composer, Dennis Fitz- 
patrick (available in a 33% R.P.M. monaural recording, "Demon- 
stration English Mass," from English Liturgy, 3501 Hillside Road, 
Evanston, Illinois, $4.98). Other contemporary musical settings of 
the Liturgy include such examples as the jass setting of the Sunday 
service which John Wesley prescribed for use by American Meth- 
odists (Ecclesia Record, 101), and Geoffrey Beaumont's "Twentieth 
Century Folk Mass" (Fiesta Record Company, Inc., FLP 25000), 
which uses everyday popular rhythms and melodies as a setting for 
the service. 

Of course, there are dangers of dilettantism or or gimmickery 
when one attempts to make worship indigenous. Neither of these 
is intended, however. What is intended is a concern to take seriously 
contemporary culture, in obedience to the One who "so loved the 
world that he gave his only Son. . . ." We shall not, by any means, 
scrap the traditional forms. But perhaps the use of indigenous 
cultural expressions can help our congregations to take seriously once 
more the intimate connection between worship and mission which so 
often seems to be lacking. 

Here, then, are some of the possibilities open to us for the re- 
newal of corporate worship. We cannot force the Holy Spirit to 
renew us, nor can we presume to know too much about how he is 
renewing us. Nevertheless these may be some of the directions in 
which he is leading us to acknowledge the God who meets us, not on 
the borders of life, but in its very midst. 

Chapel Meditations 

The First and the Last 

Revelation 1 :7-ll, 21 :l-6 

John of Patmos scanned the clouds, and understandably so. 
Jerusalem lay plundered, 
Rome was a-building, 

and John was stranded on the very island from which the Caesars 

quarried stone for their eternal city on the Tiber. 

But John did not languish, nor did he wring his hands over what 

the world was coming to. 

In his past, and present, was an event which would not allow him 

to take the measure of the world by Rome's impressive blocks of 


"Pie laid his right hand upon me, saying, 'Fear not, I am the 
first and the last, the living one ; I died, and behold I am alive 
forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.' " (Rev. 

John was as sure of the Omega as of the Alpha. 

The Revelation is testimony to that faith, as dauntless as it is difficult 

to articulate, the faith of all those who in mourning over the world 

have waited for God's comfort. 

For John it was the clouds and a new Jerusalem. 

Paul had waited till the trumpet should sound and the Lord descend. 

Hebrews has it simply "Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and 


But however it is put, it is the faith we share with John of Patmos, 

we who amid the very beauty of the autumn countryside remember 

that we, with our earthly city, are passing away. 

We are likely listening for no trumpet. 

The sound of one would conjure up Civil Defense, not Gabriel. 

Nor do we turn our radar on the clouds in anticipation of a friend. 

But we understand what John means. 

Let us, therefore, celebrate our common faith in God's triumph. 

John says that he shares three things with us : 

"I John your brother . . . share with you in Jesus the tribula- 
tion and the Kingdom and the patient endurance. ..." (1 :9) 
In the midst of tribulation — and you can fill in what that means for 
you — we share the kingdom. 


We, like John, have seen the Kingdom of God, and, consequently, 

we can no more be satisfied with the world than we can despair 

over it. 

By the second coming of Jesus Christ we mean to say that in our 

past and present is a reality with ultimate implications. 

Because we have heard the gospel, we listen for a trumpet. 

The angel Gabriel stands on top of the Riverside Church, his trumpet 
poised and his face lifted to the skies as if he were watching a jet 
take off from Kennedy International. 
He is a parable in stone. 

He stands firmly anchored to the storied past, 
surrounded by the bustling present, 

and obviously hopeful for the future. 
His trumpet says that he has heard something, but his uplifted face 
says that he is looking for something out of sight. 
His name means "man of God," herald of the kingdom which is here 
and yet to come, 
at hand, 

around the corner, 

the city that is new yet named Jerusalem. 
For eight months I saw Gabriel every morning and night. 
I went to work and play and worship, and he stood there all the while, 
his trumpet ready. 

The foundations of the church on which he perches grab the bedrock 
of Manhattan as if intending to stand there by the Hudson forever. 
And all the while Gabriel has his head in the clouds. 
The stained glass around his feet points to the past, 

to faraway places and antique times. 
Every Sunday Gabriel hears the same old story, 
told to people in well-worn pews, 

who expect to go to work on Monday and come back 

next Sunday. 
They would be surprised to hear Gabriel toot his horn. 
The days come and go, and Gabriel looks up into sun and wind, 
sleet and snow. 

He sees out of the corner of his eye that men still go down to the 
sea in ships, 

that the traffic becomes a little more hectic every Friday 

afternoon, and that the park turns russet autumn after 

Summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, day and night, vary no 
more than the traffic lights. 


But Gabriel keeps his horn ready. 

And so it must be, that in the midst of our city, we look for a city. 

For the carillon plays and the people sing over and over : 

"Oh God our help in ages past, 

Our hope for years to come. . . ." 
Our future rests firmly on our past. 

Because stained glass points back to a stable and a cross and three 
travelers on Emmaus road, Gabriel can lift his trumpet. 
It is what God has done that braces us for the living of these days, 
though we can do no better in charting our hope for the future than 
to use John's clouds and trumpets. 

This hope, the hope of God's kingdom, enables us to live in the 
present and face the future as John did, in patient endurance, in that 
steadfastness founded in remembering and expecting, 

in that grace which sustains us at the Lord's table where we 

remember Jesus and wait in expectation. 
The table is at once our confession that we cannot live our lives in 
the world by bread alone and our thanksgiving that God nourishes 
his people. 

And so we are able to endure, doing our work in the world, because 
all our expectations are in God. 

Disappointment and disillusion are built into merely human hopes. 
So we face a discouraging world as did John, with no confidence in 
the world, but in "the Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of the 
ends of the earth, who does not faint or grow weary." 
It is they who wait upon the Lord who shall renew their strength. 
I cannot say how you are to wait, for I do not know what you must 
It is likely, however, that we will endure by doing our duty, 

that we will take the world seriously without taking it with 

utter seriousness, 

that we will live out this year, and succeeding years, but not 
merely as 1964 that year which is 1964 Anno Domini. 
We will go on doing our push-ups and pushing pencils and making 

We will go to the dentist twice a year and do our homework, and 
save for our children's future. 

For to wait on the Lord as if the world were of no account is to miss 
the kingdom which is in our midst. 

To neglect human things is to deny the first coming, the incarnation 
by which God has hallowed earthy things and made our life all of a 


Not only do we wait in work, but in rest, for to know that the world 
passes away does not make us frantic to stay the days or to fear 
the future. 

We know that the Word of our God stands, and so we pass our 
days in quietness and peace and at night go content to our beds. 
We endure time as those who know that all our times are in his 
hands, past, present, and future. 

But while we wait in work and rest, we mourn for the world. 
The very fact that Gabriel is there is a symbol of our holy dissatis- 

Had John been content with things as they were, how would he have 
seen a new city? 

And why should Gabriel raise his audacious trumpet in the midst of 
a city where all is well? 

But all is not well, no more than in the old Jerusalem over which 
Jesus mourned. 

And we are never so much in his company, nor so near to the pathos 
of Gabriel's searching eye, as when we weep over the daily newspaper, 

over the life of the world. 

"Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." 
But our weeping is not that of sentimentality or of despair, for that is 
not the mourning which is in itself blessedness. 
It is the comforted grief of those who have seen and who wait to see 
the salvation of God. 
For while we mourn over the world, we know the meaning of the 


"Blessed are they that mourn. . . ." 
We endure patiently as those who know that the valleys will be 
exalted and the hills made low, even as in Israel's crooked time a 
voice was heard: 

"Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people." 
Everyone of us has his own Patmos, where he waits with John and 
Paul and Simeon and Rauschenbusch for the consolation of Israel. 
Only you know your Patmos, and you will have to make John's 
vision your own, but the vision of faith makes possible our patient 

Who knows this better than Dilsey, in William Faulkner's The 
Sound and the Fury. 

Dilsey does her duty in the world, knowing all the while that the 
world is coming to an end, the world where so much is wrong. 
Dilsey is the old Negro servant, the mammy, in the Compson house- 


hold, a family for whom life is all sound and fury signifying nothing. 

Dilsey is the only person in the family who will accept suffering, who 

will accept life as it is. 

The book closes on Easter Sunday, 1928. 

Dilsey begins the day by carrying wood, getting breakfast, and trying 

to maintain peace in the family. 

There is a strange, dogged hopefulness about the woman as she 

ducks her gray head and heaves herself up and down the stairs at 

Mrs. Compson's whim. 

But Dilsey gets her work done and goes off to church with her 

children and the feeble-minded Ben. 

The path is uphill and leads among dilapidated Negro cabins. 

The weatherbeaten church stands against a gray Easter morning. 

Inside are decorations of crepe paper and above the pulpit an old 

red Christmas bell, the kind that folds up like an accordion. 

The people sing, and then a preacher in a shabby alpaca coat gives 

a sermon on suffering and Easter, all about the agony of the cross, 

and about the golden horns shouting down the glory. 
Dilsey weeps quietly, rises, and leaves the church. 
Approaching the big Compson house, with its rotting portico, Dilsey's 
children want to know why she weeps. 

She tells them never to mind and continues to weep what seem 
tears of comforted sorrow. 

Back in the kitchen, about her usual tasks, from which there is no 
escape, she talks to herself about having seen the first and the last, 

the beginning and the end. 
And Dilsey endures. 

More than that, she lives joyfully, lovingly in the world, for she 
knows the decisive truth; 

Jesus Christ is alpha and omega. 
So Gabriel, lift your trumpet. 

For though it often does not appear to be so, to eyes of faith it is 
clear, especially when we wait on Patmos, 

or endure a world of rotting porticoes, that 

"the Kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdom of 
our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever 
and ever." Amen 

York Chapel Charles L. Rice 

October 24, 1965 Assistant in Preaching 

The Dean's Discourse 

At this moment of writing we look forward with satisfaction 
to a forthcoming Convocation of students, faculty, and alumni in 
dedication. On May 12 at high noon we rededicate the newly reno- 
vated Divinity School Building and dedicate to the lasting honor of 
the late Bishop John Carlisle Kilgo the newly constructed entrance 
porch of the Divinity School. We anticipate the assembly of alumni 
and friends on this occasion and rejoice that our Bishop Paul N. 
Garber of the Raleigh Area, chief biographer of Kilgo, will bring 
the principal address and participate in the dedicatory ceremonies. 
We shall be honored also by the participation of President Douglas 
M. Knight in the dedicatory service. 

The past few months have seen the final departure of several 
colleagues and dear friends of the Divinity School family. 

On February 18, RUTH MERTZ PETRY, beloved wife of our 
colleague, Professor Ray C. Petry, was suddenly stricken and passed 
from this mortal scene in but a few hours. Ruth Petry was a de- 
voted neighbor and friend of students and faculty families for nearly 
thirty years. The profound bereavement of her husband is shared 
by all of us who knew her. 

She was born March 17, 1898, near Burnettsville, Indiana. She 
received the A.B. degree from Indiana University and the A.M. 
degree in English literature and drama from the University of Colo- 
rado. She did special studies in Latin at the University of Wis- 
consin and taught English and Latin in the Indiana high schools 
prior to her marriage, May 29, 1930. Cultured in the liberal arts, 
she was a helpmeet extraordinary to her husband in his humane 
learning and writing. From her funeral sermon I excerpt a few words 
which it was my honor to compose and present in Trinity Methodist 
Church, February 21, 1965: 

"Gifted of mind and well educated, Ruth was equally unimpressed 
by the pretense of the academy and the unction of uncritical religion. 
At the same time, she was undeterred by the naive simplicities of 
untutored faith. Somehow, for her, these were no real disqualifica- 
tions. She knew, with the down-to-earth sense that sometimes 
comes with country rearing, that wisdom is justified only by her 
children. . . . 


"No faculty wife consulted the treasures of the Rare Book Room, 
including the Latin texts, more than Ruth ; but none, either, was 
more alert to capture and keep shafts of golden insight from the 
neighbor's maid or the child next door. I have not known one who 
could hear, see, and treasure more largely the words and signs of 
little children in the rough and tumble of play or in casual conversa- 
tion of the side yard. 

"Children and childlike innocence she took seriously, believing 
on good authority, that 'except ye become as a little child ye cannot 
enter the kingdom of God.' No one knew better than Ruth that 
'out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou has ordained praise !' 
For adults Ruth reserved her gentle whimsy and sometimes her 
irony — as suited to their condition — and as the grace of her for- 
bearance and the manner, also, of her Christian charity. Delight- 
fully demure, at times she could suddenly settle presumption, such 
as mine, with a deft 'aside.' Modest about herself, she, at the same 
time, over-estimated no one. You could as easily sweep her off her 
feet with a gale of many words as alter the colors of her prized roses 
with well deserved compliments. Yet, gentle toward all, she was a 
beloved neighbor, not because she raised a finger to cultivate anyone, 
but because she cared. And therewith, also, was her integrity. She 
was obedient to the heavenly vision." 

Edified by her life we shall be strengthened by her memory. 

DR. RUSSELL L. DICKS— Alumni and faculty of the Divinity 
School were saddened by the news of the sudden death by heart 
attack of Dr. Dicks, March 8, 1965, at his home in Orlando, Florida. 

Dr. Dicks joined the faculty of the Divinity School in 1948 during 
the deanship of Dr. Harold Bosley and continued his services until 
1959, when he resigned to undertake private counseling practice 
which led to his settlement with his family in Orlando, Florida, 
where he became Director of the Central Florida Counseling Service. 

Dr. Dicks joined the faculty of the Divinity School as Associate 
Professor of Pastoral Care and eventually established a chaplaincy 
program in the Duke Hospital, beginning what has become an inte- 
gral part of the program of the Medical Center. 

Dr. Dicks received the A.B. degree from the University of Okla- 
homa in 1930 and his B.D. degree from Union Theological Seminary, 
New York, in 1933. He was for five years thereafter on the staff 
of the Massachusetts General Hospital, where the basis for his ca- 
reer in pastoral care was laid. It was here that he labored as a 


colleague of the famous physician, Richard C. Cabot, and together 
with Cabot published his influential and pioneering volume on The 
Art of Ministering to the Sick (New York, 1936). Thereafter many 
writings came from his pen which contributed to the development 
of the present-day discipline of pastoral care in the curricula of 
contemporary theological schools. 

Dr. Dicks was the first teacher of clinical pastoral training in a 
general hospital, along with A. Philip Guiles. He was the first to 
analyze pastoral case material for The Pastor. For many years he 
edited the privately published magazine entitled Religion and Health 
and was the general editor of the Pastoral Aid Series of the West- 
minster Press. Before coming to Duke and after his departure from 
Boston, he served as chaplain in the Presbyterian Hospital, Chicago, 
and was a member of the faculty of Southern Methodist University 
and Associate Pastor of Highland Park Methodist Church in Dallas, 
Texas. During the period of his service to the Divinity School he 
was a nationally recognized lecturer in his field and at the same time 
laid the foundation of the Pastoral Care program which has subse- 
quently prospered and developed involving not only Duke Medical 
Center but adjacent service institutions. 

The alumni, as well as the faculty, of the Divinity School desire 
to extend their deepest word of sympathy to Mrs. Dorothy Dicks 
and the children, Joan, William, and James. Mrs. Dicks' address is 
2524 Delwood Drive, Orlando, Florida. 

DR. KELSEY REGEN— Dr. Regen died April 15, 1965, in 
Richmond, Virginia, after a lingering illness. He was pastor of the 
First Presbyterian Church, which pastorate he had assumed in 1960 
after a notable service to church and community as pastor of the 
First Presbyterian Church, Durham, North Carolina. From 1952 
until 1960 Dr. Regen served as a part-time lecturer in Pastoral 
Theology, contributing the wealth of his experience, wisdom, and 
grace to the students of the Divinity School who elected his courses. 
His churchmanship was of the highest order, and he endeared him- 
self alike to students and faculty in the course of his enriching service. 

Dr. Regen had come to the ministry of the First Presbyterian 
Church, Durham, in 1940 and served in such a way that the Durham 
Morning Herald editorial writer properly observed that his "ministry 
extended beyond the bounds of his congregation. In quite a real 
sense, all Durham was his parish." He was moderator of the Synod 
of North Carolina in 1958-59 and president of the North Carolina 


Council of Churches, 1952-54. In 1959 he received the Council's 
Distinguished Service Award. He was a member of the Board of 
Trustees of Davidson College, from which he had received his A.B. 
degree in 1926. He was a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian The- 
ological Seminary, receiving the B.D. degree in 1929. A member 
of Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson, he was awarded the honorary 
Doctor of Laws degree from Tusculum College. He was minister 
of the First Presbyterian Church of Middletown, New York, and 
he came to Durham from the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church 
in Covington, Kentucky. 

When the fateful eventuality became plain to him in February, 
and it was suggested, "We can still hope for a miracle," he replied, 
"Perhaps we may, but the miracle we can look for is the attitude 
which we take toward what lies before us." 

His wife, Mrs. Jocelyn Watson Regen, resides at 100 Windsor 
Way, Richmond, Virginia. He is survived by his son, Jon Watson 
Regen, and a daughter, Margot Ann Regen. 

These all died in faith, having received the promises. 

I am pleased to announce the strengthening of our faculty by the 
appointment of the following persons : 

DANIEL M. SCHORES, JR., will assume his duties June 1, 
1965, as Associate Director of Field Education and Assistant Pro- 
fessor of Church and Community. Mr. Schores comes to us from 
Missouri, where he has been, since 1959, the very able Director of 
Church and Community of the Missouri Area. 

Mr. Schores is a graduate of Central Methodist College, re- 
ceiving the A.B. degree in 1950. He received the B.D. degree from 
Duke Divinity School in 1953, and the Ph.D. degree in Sociology of 
Religion from the University of Missouri is expected to be awarded 
at the forthcoming 1965 commencement. 

Mr. Schores is married to Marie Sessler Schores. They are the 
parents of five children. 

Mr. Schores has the distinction of being awarded the honorary 
title of Rural Minister of the Year by Emory University for 1964. 
He is a member of the Rural Sociology Society, the Society for the 
Scientific Study of Religion, and the Religious Research Associa- 
tion. He is a member of the Missouri East Conference of The 
Methodist Church. 


DWIGHT MOODY SMITH, JR., will join the faculty of the 
Divinity School as Associate Professor of New Testament, Septem- 
ber 1, 1965, and will bring to this field of study urgently needed sup- 
porting instruction which became needful as Dr. Kenneth W. Clark 
assumed full-time responsibility for the International Greek New 
Testament Project. Dr. Smith comes to us from five years of teach- 
ing on the faculty of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. 

Dr. Smith is a graduate of Davidson College, receiving the 
A.B. degree with Phi Beta Kappa. He received the B.D. degree 
from Duke Divinity School in 1957, the M.A. from Yale University 
in 1958, and the Ph.D. degree from the same institution in 1961. 
His fellowships included Boies University Fellowship, 1957-58; 
Dempster Fellowship, 1958-59 ; Kent Fellowship, 1958- ; and the Fels 
Fellowship for 1959-60. He is a member of the Society of Biblical 
Literature and Exegesis and the Society for Religion in Higher Edu- 

His graduate work at Yale, as well as at Duke Divinity School, 
has been uncommonly distinguished. His doctoral dissertation has 
recently been published by the Yale University Press under the 
title The Composition and Order of the Fourth Gospel. It is a search- 
ing and monumental study of Rudolf Bultmann's methodology of 
New Testament analysis. (See review on pp. 157-159.) 

Dr. Smith and his wife Jane are the parents of two children. 

DR. ROBERT E. SMITH, M.D., and since 1960 Assistant Pro- 
fessor of Pastoral Care and Psychiatric Counsel, will terminate his 
services to the Divinity School and to the Department of Psychiatry 
to assume new duties as Professor of Pastoral Care and Psychiatrics 
in service to four Anglican theological colleges of Oxford, England. 

Dr. Smith has been a part-time instructor in the program of 
Pastoral Care in colleagueship with the director, Professor Richard 
A. Goodling. Under their cooperative effort the program has ac- 
quired gratifying stature, and to this development Dr. Smith has 
made a truly significant contribution. With this expression of gen- 
uine appreciation, I add the word of some pride that we are able to 
participate through Dr. Smith in a first contribution of its kind to 
Anglican theological education at Oxford. 

Robert E. Cushman 


HARRY B. PARTIN, Lecturer in History of Religions: 

A politician and twice governor of my home state (Kentucky) 
used to boast that he was born between two rows of tobacco. I came 
rather close to that, for I was born and reared on a tobacco farm 
near Lexington. I find the scent of tobacco which occasionally drifts 
across the Duke campus neither strange nor unpleasant. 

I came from a family which had long ago entered the "dark and 
bloody ground" through the Cumberland Gap from Virginia (and 
North Carolina). Recent generations of the family were largely 
Methodist, but as a boy I rebelled against the highly pietistic form 
of Methodism represented in the local church and became a member 
of the Disciples of Christ. It was only later that I learned of the 
richness and variety of Methodism. 

My early vocational plan was to enter the legal profession, fol- 
lowing the pattern of a jurist uncle. However, when I was sixteen, 
my pastor startled me by asking if I had considered the Christian 
ministry as a vocation. I replied that I had never given it a thought. 
But once the thought had been put into my mind it would not leave. 
Two years later I entered Transylvania College. The ex-governor 
referred to above had earlier arrived at Transylvania College with, 
as he was wont to put it, "a smile, a red sweater, and a five-dollar 
bill." My "assets" on arrival included the determination to study 
for the ministry. 

For my B.D. studies I sought a seminary which would be highly 
demanding intellectually, and soon was at the Disciples Divinity 
House of the University of Chicago. After receiving the degree I 
was called to a Southern California church as associate minister. 
Two years later I was invited by the late Professor Joachim Wach to 
return to Chicago for graduate work in History of Religions. I had 
the privilege of studying under Joachim Wach until his untimely 
death. In Joachim Wach I encountered for the first time a great 
man. Several years ago when I stood before his grave in a small 
cemetery cut into a mountain at Orselina overlooking Locarno, I 
understood why the graves of the great have been places of pil- 

Professor Wach's death was unsettling academically as well as 


personally. Just as I had decided to "take a break" in my doctoral 
studies, an invitation came from the World Council of Churches to 
join the staff of the Division of Studies as secretary for a newly- 
authorized study of "The Word of God and the Living Faiths of 
Men" sponsored jointly by the World Council and the International 
Missionary Council. A two-year appointment lengthened into five, 
with the first two years spent with the I.M.C. in London and the 
last three in Geneva (when not "on the road" in the Middle East 
and Asia). I saw for myself that the encounter in depth between 
Christian faith and other religious faiths is just beginning despite a 
century and a half of missionary activity. On the Christian side the 
encounter is inhibited by the ghetto mentality (of which Dr. Russell 
Chandran of India spoke recently to a Divinity School audience) 
and exclusivist theological formulations of Christians, as well as by 
the tendency to settle for a superficial understanding of other reli- 
gions. Joachim Wach used to say that before one compares he should 
know and understand the phenomena he wants to compare. 

I cannot think of an experience which could have better served 
to send one back into graduate study in History of Religions. 
Happily, Joachim Wach had a worthy successor at Chicago in the 
person of Mircea Eliade. I returned to Chicago in 1962 to continue 
my doctoral program in History of Religions (with some specializa- 
tion in Islamics). Then came exciting and demanding years: study 
under Eliade; editorial work for a new international journal, History 
of Religions; and a phenomenological study of religious pilgrimage. 

The opportunity to join the faculty of Duke University last fall 
was accepted without hesitation for a number of reasons. For one 
thing, I desired to return to the South after too long an absence and 
to rear my family (now consisting of one wife and three children) 
in this region. For another, I wanted to become part of a university 
with increasingly high standards of excellence. Fully as important, 
however, was the presence here of Professor Herbert P. Sullivan, a 
long-time friend and fellow graduate student, who had already done 
much to convey a fresh understanding of the History of Religions. 
The discipline of the History of Religions, I am convinced, is not to 
be defined fundamentally by its subject-matter (usually taken to 
be "non-Christian religions") but by the perspective and methods 
which it employs for the study of any religious phenomena. In short, 
it is a hermeneutic. 



The Empirical Theology of Henry 
Nelson Wieman. Edited by Robert 
W. B retail. Macmillan. 1963. 423 
pp. $8.50. 

In the 1920's "empirical theology" 
(broadly speaking) was the most ex- 
citing version of American religious 
thought. A foremost figure in the 
left-wing of this current was Henry 
Nelson Wieman (1884—). His first 
book, Religious Experience and Scien- 
tific Method (1926), wafted him into 
the University of Chicago, where for 
some twenty years he was the center 
of theological discussion. His first 
volume was speedily followed by 
others, such as The Wrestle of Re- 
ligion with Truth (1927), Methods of 
Private Religious Living (1929), and 
Is There A God? (1932). He elab- 
orated his definitive system in an 
arresting book, entitled The Source of 
Human Good (1946). 

When Wieman went to the Uni- 
versity of Chicago, its Divinity School 
was the foremost exponent of an 
anthropocentric type of religious hu- 
manism, but under his vigorous criti- 
cism that brand of belief was thrown 
on the defensive. As an alternative to 
it, he advocated what he called "theo- 
centric religion." But although he 
was a theocentrist, he rejected all 
tendencies to identify God in terms 
of mind, being, or personality. Draw- 
ing upon the insights of Dewey, 
James, and Whitehead, he urged that 
God is best defined as a particular 
kind of growth, synthesis, or inter- 

The present work is volume four 
in "The Library of Living Theology." 
Its pattern of organization is unique. 
It opens with Wieman's own "intel- 
lectual autobiography" and is fol- 
lowed by nineteen short essays, pre- 
sented by recognized scholars. To 
each of these essayists Wieman then 

replies, giving special attention to their 
criticisms of his system. On the whole, 
the book is an exciting adventure and 
will richly reward a careful exam- 

Today empirical theology is in 
eclipse, owing to a renewal of the- 
ology closer to the classical Chris- 
tian tradition, but there are already 
signs that religious empiricism, in 
some form, will get another look. 
When this comes true, Wieman's mode 
of empirical theology will almost cer- 
tainly be re-examined. Apart from 
his own writings — a full list of which 
up to 1963 will be found in this sym- 
posium — there is no better source- 
book with which to do one's home- 
work than the present publication. 
The editor is to be commended for 
his careful workmanship. 

— H. Shelton Smith 

The Rationality of Faith. Carl Mi- 
chalson. Scribner's. 1963. 160 pp. 

The purpose of Michalson's book 
is to give an exposition of the signifi- 
cance of the modern concept of his- 
tory for the Christian faith. Michal- 
son hopes to show "how it comes 
about that Christians and non-Chris- 
tians alike impute to Christianity ab- 
surdities which are not really there, 
and how these absurdities may evap- 
orate and give way to solidly redemp- 
tive meaning when the question of 
Christian understanding is rigorously 
set within the logic of history" (p. 
19). The rationality of faith con- 
sists of the absence of absurdities if 
faith is approached on the model of 
history. Michalson apparently hopes 
to adopt history as "the model of 
theological thinking" (p. 18). 

There is no reason to object to 
the use of history as an analogy of 
the Christian faith. But is it justifi- 


able to make history the ultimate 
court of appeal? Michalson also uses 
the word "God," but he equates it 
with history or some facet thereof. 
Wherever Michalson speaks of God, 
he finds the meaning of the word in 
the historical dimension. For Michal- 
son there is no God to appeal to be- 
yond history : "There is no immediate 
relation between Christians and God : 
that relation is mediated by Jesus of 
Nazareth, the word of God" (p. 98). 
Every aspect of God's being or ac- 
tivity relates to history : "The everlast- 
ing arms are made of history, the 
fleshiness of the world" (p. 105). 
Knowledge of God "cannot result 
from natural testimony" (p. 55). Only 
historical events reveal who God is, 
the resurrection, for example, an 
event "in which it is revealed through 
Jesus of Nazareth who God really 
is" (p. 52). Knowing God in this 
way should help to find a new re- 
lationship to the world : "The word 
'God' is not an invitation to point to 
some transcendent reality. It is an 
invocation to receive the world from 
beyond oneself" (p. 146). 

History for Michalson is interpre- 
tation. So is theology : "The task of 
the theologian, like that of the his- 
torian, is to stir up the sediment of 
meaning in the sedimentation of 
events. . . . For those who think man 
lives by facts, the pursuit of meaning 
will appear as a form of historical 
violence" (p. 64). The task of the- 
ology consists in working out the 
proper relationship between fact and 
meaning. But whenever we ask 
Michalson what fact he might be in- 
terpreting, we get no definite answer, 
although we are told: "A statement 
of fact may help to settle an historical 
question" (p. 60). 

If history is the ultimate court of 
appeal also for theology, one won- 
ders why reference to God should be 
made at all. While history may make 
faith seem more rational and less ab- 
surd and thus might function as an 
analogy of theological thought, alone 
it is unable to give meaning to the 

word "God." History is God's in- 
terpreter, but not God. 

— Frederick Herzog 

Tangled World. Roger L. Shinn. 
Scribner's 1965. 158 pp. $3. 

The Meaning of Christian Values To- 
day. William L. Bradley. Westmin- 
ster. 1964. 176 pp. $4.50. 

Christian Responsibility in Economic 
Life. Albert Terrill Rasmussen. 
Westminster. 1965. 90 pp. $1.25. 

These three popularly written books, 
read in conjunction with each other, 
reflect both the present ethical situa- 
tion in America and the situation in 
American Christian ethics. The broad 
consensus in Christian social ethics in 
this country is seen in the common 
concern of the three authors for a 
realistic description of the problems 
of our complex and interrelated so- 
ciety characterized by the "big change" 
(Rasmussen) of the organizational 
revolution ; the problem of the rela- 
tion of the historic Christian faith to 
a world held by many to be "post- 
Christian" (Bradley) ; and the rela- 
tion of the individual to the social 

Tangled World is based on a series 
of television programs sponsored by 
the United Church of Christ. In thir- 
teen chapters, Shinn discusses the 
most pressing problems of our society, 
such as poverty, urbanization, racial 
conflict, political and economic chal- 
lenges, sexual ethics, and international- 
ism. He does not attempt to give 
answers but "to help people under- 
stand what they are doing so that 
they can act more responsibly." As 
befits the nature of his audience, the 
book is clearly, simply and interest- 
ingly written ; description and anal- 
ysis are well documented and illus- 
trated. The Christian faith which pro- 
vides Shinn's own context is seldom 
explicitly stated. 

Rasmussen's and Bradley's books 
appear respectively in the Westminster 
series "Christian Perspectives on So- 
cial Problems" and "Studies in Chris- 
tian Communication." The first is 


more successful than the second in 
fulfilling the aim of series and book. 
Rasmussen recognizes the "tragic 
separation" between religion and daily 
life reflected in the gap between faith 
and economic affairs but sees the pos- 
sibility of a fruitful dialogue between 
economic theorists and interpreters of 
the Christian faith. On the basis of 
an historical sketch of the changing 
forms of Protestant ethics and of the 
secular business creed, he asserts that 
a new convergence between Christian 
ethics and business ethics can be seen 
in decision. He submits the "Amer- 
ican Business Creed" to a Christian 
critique, stressing cooperation instead 
of competition and limitation rather 
than self-regulation through the op- 
eration of a free economy (an ab- 

Bradley addresses himself to the 
problem of the lack of moral sensi- 
tivity, and the "seeming incommuni- 
cability of the Christian norms of the 
good life." The ideas of the good 
man and the good life which he 
treats in the thought of ancient Greece, 
Old Testament, Stoicism, New Testa- 
ment, and Augustine, Aquinas, Lu- 
ther and Calvin provide the context 
for ethical principles and values. The 
basic problem of the good life for the 
good man is that of how the indi- 
vidual is to relate himself to the so- 
cial order. In his last chapter, "Chris- 
tian Ethics in a Post-Christian 
World," he opposes the existentialists' 
concern for freedom and motivation 
with an emphasis upon order and 
office ; relating this especially to Cal- 
vin's view of the civil order. 

Bradley unintentionally, it would 
seem, raises more questions in the last 
chapter than he answers. He seems 
both to accept the "seeming incom- 
municability of the Christian view 
of the good man and the good life in 
our culture" and yet to see "wonder- 
ful opportunities" for "sensitizing the 
leaders of our communities to the 
pressing social needs that confront 
us." His discussion is neither clear 
enough nor full enough to provide 
even elementary guidance in the ef- 
fort to do this, however. He seems to 

rely upon the power of self-interest 
on the part of the leaders on one 
hand and pressures exercised on them 
by those in responsible positions on 
the other. While he seeks to develop 
an objective ethics "based upon the 
priority of office over him who occu- 
pies the office," this has little relevance 
as a Christian ethic unless a meaning- 
ful context for values and ethical 
principles is developed. The context- 
ualist who recognizes no principle 
but the "law of love" and the need 
for drawing on "the wisdom of the 
ages" (Bradley, p. 153) or who in 
the situational approach of the new 
morality "enters into every decision- 
making moment armed with all the 
wisdom of the culture" (Joseph Flet- 
cher, quoted in Time, March 5, 1965, 
p. 44) may be contributing to the 
problem instead of helping to ame- 
liorate it. It recalls the desperate plea 
of Abner Dean's bewildered hero, 
"Will the three wise men please step 

It is the strength of Rasmussen's 
little book that he shows the rele- 
vance of the Reformed ethic to eco- 
nomic life today and offers positive 
suggestions for a revitalized relation 
of Christian faith and business code 
of ethical practices ; also, that he 
views the Church as the context of 
Christian decision-making. It is 
worth noting that whereas Bradley 
puts greatest stress on the impor- 
tance of order and the priority of 
office over person, he sees the prob- 
lem as that of reaching the decision 
maker, the individual leader, whereas 
Rasmussen asserts that "The organi- 
zational revolution has drastically 
changed the decision-making process 
from personal decisions to corporate 

American Christian social ethicists 
are more and more concerned with 
the church's responsibility to communi- 
cate with the "strategic elites" who 
influence and direct public policy. 
There is some danger, however, that 
the prevailing values and assumptions 
of our culture which determine the 
context and the limitations of the 
ethical decisions of our leaders will 


not be given sufficient attention by 
ethicists. This requires more concern 
for the mission of the church to the 
ordinary citizen. This may constitute 
the more demanding and urgent ethical 
challenge to the Christian church, 
taking a long look ahead in the di- 
rection in which our culture is tend- 
ing to move. From this point of view, 
it would seem to the reviewer that 
Rasmussen has the more balanced and 
constructive approach to the problems 
of contemporary society which all 
three authors recognize and describe 
in similar terms. Certainly all three 
reflect the temper of thought of many 
knowledgeable and sensitive Christian 
ethicists of our day — cognizant of the 
bewilderingly complex problems of 
our society, aware of the prevailing 
mode of thought which is alien to the 
traditional categories of the Christian 
faith, critical of the failures of the 
Church, and searching for practical 
and constructive ways to exercise 
Christian responsibility for the im- 
provement of man's total life. It 
may still be that the basic problem 
is one of motivation (contra Bradley), 
if love of neighbor remains the ethical 
imperative. If so, ethics must not 
overlook the person in its concern for 
the social order. 

— Thomas E. McCollough 

The Prospects of Christianity 
Throughout the World. Edited by 
M. Searle Bates and Wilhelm 
Pauck. Scribner's. 1964. 286 pp. 

"The non-religious, entirely human 
answer, institutional and sociological, 
is gloomy — but not utterly so," writes 
one churchman. "Humanly speaking, 
the outlook is not very promising. 
'There are more dangers than oppor- 
tunities,' " says another. Yet this 
realistic, often pessimistic symposium 
leaves the reader with a challenge 
and a hope which are fundamental to 
the Christian faith. 

The title is somewhat misleading, 
for several contributors content them- 
selves with a factual or statistical 
analysis of the contemporary reli- 
gious scene and give little attention to 

prospects ahead. Other chapters are 
sheer gems. As could be expected 
from the author of Communism and 
the Theologians, Charles West's six- 
teen pages on Eastern Europe con- 
tain more profound understanding and 
sensitive insight into problems and 
temptations of the Church under Com- 
munism than most lengthy books. 
Charles Malik combines perception 
with preaching on the Near East. 
Jose Miguez Bonino, the only Meth- 
odist included, gives a clear and bal- 
anced picture of Latin America, as 
does David Moses (one of the World 
Council Presidents) for India, and 
John Fleming for South East Asia. 
In a two-part treatment of the United 
States Truman Douglass and Robert 
Handy are excessively preoccupied 
(even for this 'ecumaniac' !) with de- 
nominationalism, psychologically and 

The names of Daniel Jenkins, Ste- 
phen Neill, Christian Baeta, Masao 
Takenaka and others testify to the 
authority of the collection. Because 
most, if not all, of these contributors 
have been intimately connected with 
Union Theological Seminary as pro- 
fessors or students, the symposium is 
appropriately dedicated to Henry P. 
Van Dusen, distinguished statesman 
of ecumenical Christianity. The es- 
says will be fascinating to anyone in 
the least concerned with the universal 
Church ; they ought, however, to be 
read by every provincial pastor and 
layman who now neither knows nor 
cares about the prospects of Christian- 
ity throughout the world. 

— Creighton Lacy 

Living Doctrine In A Vital Pulpit. 
Merrill R. Abbey. Abingdon. 1964. 

The professor of preaching at Gar- 
rett is now following up his recent 
volume on Preaching to the Contem- 
porary Mind (cf. review in the duke 
divinity school bulletin, November, 
1963, p. 244) with a book in 
which he looks at the preaching event 
from a perspective intended to sup- 
plement the more situation-centered 
approach taken there. The "flow of 


traffic between situation and doctrine" 
goes in this new work in the opposite 
direction, from central doctrines to 
the human scene. 

The book falls roughly into two 
parts. The first four chapters repre- 
sent a discussion of the need and the 
rationale, the language and the sources 
for doctrinal preaching, while the 
last six chapters focus on some cen- 
tral affirmations in the Christian 
kerygma, attempting to restate and 
show the relevance of these affirma- 
tions in the current situation. Pro- 
fessor Abbey writes easily, his thought 
is lucid and clear, his illustrations are 
rich in number and potent in sug- 
gestiveness, and his main emphases 
are sound. But the book is not excit- 
ing, simply because its perspective is 
so — common. Let me explain. 

Abbey argues that what people need 
is "sheer basic (doctrinal) informa- 
tion" (using J. B. Phillips' phrase), 
"a profoundly theological gospel," an 
"articulate doctrine," "clearly (a fav- 
orite term) stated," "powerfully 
taught," "strongly (another favorite) 
preached." And how does the preacher 
do this? By "telling" it (p. 31). 

Too simple? Well, Abbey goes fur- 
ther, of course. He speaks of "teach- 
ing winsomely," "making things clear," 
"planning the progression of one's 
,preaching'," "grappling with fresh 
knowledge," and "being in dialogue 
with emerging issues and new thought- 
forms." He even stresses the im- 
portance of "dialogue between pastor 
and congregation." But when one be- 
gins to be eager to see how this 
double dialogue will come out, one 
finds that Abbey runs away from the 
deeper issues only to take up some 
practical suggestions, that the preach- 
er "will have his people constantly 
before him as he lays out the plan 
for a year's preaching," and that 
"wherever he goes among texts, note- 
books, ideas, reading, he will ask, 
'What does this say to my people's 
need?'" (p. 43). 

Trite? Well, the book gives a great 
many good prescriptions for a work- 
horse. It does not propose to analyse 
the nature of a thoroughbred. There 

is no discussion here of the nature of 
doctrine as such. Religious language 
is quite rightly seen to be meaningful 
only on the basis of "religious ex- 
perience," but the questions about the 
nature of religious experience and 
its relation to other human experience 
are not touched. And when Abbey 
refers to the Christian kerygma as the 
"referent" of both our religious ex- 
perience and our religious language, 
he willingly takes them on face value 
as "deeds" or "events," not even men- 
tioning the difficulty of deciding what 
is what, fact and the faith-interpre- 
tation of fact, within the kerygmatic 
event. How can we expect to be able 
to make doctrine living and the pulpit 
vital to contemporary man without 
facing those questions which are really 
the cause of his religious dullness and 
intellectual confusion ? Is it not true to 
say that modern man does not simply 
need someone to tell him what the 
creed or the kerygma say ; he needs 
someone to guide him to understand 
the meaning of that which is said? 

Professor Abbey has made an at- 
tempt, but he is only partly success- 
ful. His book points more in the 
direction of kerygmatic preaching than 
doctrinal preaching. He manages to 
"state clearly" the Christian kerygma 
he is dealing with, but he does not 
explain how these affirmations are to 
be understood, and so he really never 
reaches the level of good teaching, 

For those who want to see how the 
kerygma can be restated in the cur- 
rent idiom, however, it is a useful 
book — as far as it goes. — Thor Hall 

Archaeology in Biblical Research. 
Walter G. Williams. Abingdon. 
1965. 223 pp. $4.75. 

During the last decade a number of 
new books on Biblical archaeology 
have appeared. Most of them are ex- 
pensive, because of the need for pictor- 
ial illustration ; many of them are 
highly specialized and rather tech- 
nical. Thus an inquiring student or 
an average layman might find the 
current books beyond his comprehen- 
sion or the capability of his purse. 


In the present work, the author has 
attempted to make matters plain to 
the educated reader who has no pre- 
vious knowledge of the subject, and 
the publisher has cooperated by cre- 
ating an inexpensive volume of modest 
size and format, even adding a few 
illustrations, maps, and drawings. 

The book is divided into three parts. 
Part I, "Essence of Biblical Archae- 
ology," defines the subject, gives a 
brief history of it, and describes some 
of the institutions that carry on ar- 
chaeological work and publish its re- 
sults. Notable among these is, of 
course, the American School of Ori- 
ental Research, of which the Duke 
Divinity School is a corporation mem- 

Part II, "Aspects of Archaeology," 
deals with methodologies, such as 
surface surveys, excavation, accidental 
discoveries, preservation of exposed 
antiquities, museum display, and pub- 
lication. The outstanding case of ac- 
cidental discovery in recent times is 
that of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. 
In this section, the author takes pains 
to explain why pottery and even small 
sherds are so useful to the archae- 
ologist, though they seem dull and 
senseless to the untutored layman. 
Here we also learn of the excavator's 
hazards of snakes, scorpions, dysen- 
tery, and malaria. 

Part III, "The World in Which the 
Bible Was Written," occupies most of 
the volume and portrays the results 
that are of interest to the author. A 
few of these results may be men- 
tioned : the inconclusive identification 
of Mizpah ; the conclusive identifi- 
cation of Gibeon ; improved knowl- 
edge of the chronology of the kings 
of Israel and Judah ; the discovery of 
the Sumerians and their history; fur- 
ther knowledge of the Hittites ; Egyp- 
tian and Mesopotamian literary paral- 
lels to the Old Testament ; new knowl- 
edge of musical instruments in the 
Bible ; parallels to Biblical customs or 
language from Mari, Nuzi, and Ugar- 
it ; parallels to Old Testament law 
from various Mesopotamian codes ; 
decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphic 
and Mesopotamian cuneiform writing; 

new light on the history of the alpha- 
bet; the finding and interpretation of 
the Dead Sea Scrolls, perhaps the 
most important of all recent results 
of archaeological activity. 

The author, Professor of Old Testa- 
ment at the Iliff School of Theology, 
is not a professional archaeologist, 
though he has had some experience in 
the field in trips to the Near East 
from time to time. He is an outstand- 
ing teacher and interpreter of the 
Bible and it is from this vantage 
point that he has performed a service 
for the inquiring student or layman. 
His book will be useful to a wide 
circle of readers. — W. F. Stinespring 

Genesis, Introduction, Translation, and 
Notes (Anchor Bible, Vol. I). 
E. A. Speiser. Doubleday. 1964. 
lxxvi, 379 pp. $6. 

The Anchor Bible, when the re- 
viewer first heard of it some years 
ago, was to be an "interfaith" com- 
mentary of high quality, the various 
volumes to be produced by Catholics, 
Jews, or Protestants with regard only 
for competence and without regard 
for theological position. The volumes 
also were to be issued as paperbacks 
in order to make them accessible to 
nearly all students. The first idea 
seems in a fair way to be realized. 
The second, however, has been given 
up, at least for the time being, and 
several volumes have now appeared 
as hardbacks at conventional prices. 
Since thirty-eight volumes have been 
projected, it will be seen that cost of 
the entire set may well be more than 
$200. The general editors are the 
distinguished W. F. Albright and his 
disciple, D. N. Freedman. 

One of the first thoughts that come 
to a reviewer at this point is of the 
unfairness of reviews like this, based 
on a few hours of reading in a work 
that has cost the author many months 
or years of devoted labor. Yet the 
effort must be made, and it would be 
fair to nobody to speak only in terms 
of praise. 

The Introduction is divided into 
two approximately equal parts: (1) 
"The Biblical Process," by which the 


author means his attitude vis a vis 
Biblical criticism and Biblical the- 
ology; and (2), introduction to Gene- 
sis specifically. The first part begins 
by rejecting the fundamentalist idea 
that Moses wrote all the Pentateuch 
or any large part thereof. The author 
then goes on to accept the standard 
literary analysis into J, E, D, P, and 
R ; he even speaks respectfully of 
Julius Wellhausen and R. H. Pfeiffer. 
Thus the rumor that The Anchor 
Bible would display an anti-critical 
tendency is shown from the very first 
to be false. Mirabile dictu et visu, 
in the translation the documents are 
distinguished from one another by a 
printing device, probably the first time 
this has been done in an English 
translation since Moffatt's Old Testa- 
ment did it more than forty years ago. 
Clearly, J, E, D, and P are here to 
stay at least a while longer, and 
Speiser is aware of this fact. 

Though Speiser rejects such addi- 
tional symbolism as J 1 , J 2 , L, and S, 
he does suggest one new symbol of 
his own, namely "T" (in quotation 
marks), meaning Tradition, to signify 
the pre-literary stage lying behind 
J, E, and P. Pfeiffer also speaks of 
"the traditions common to J and E." 
Speiser, however, being an expert on 
Hurrian culture, stresses the Hurrian 
elements in these traditions, whereas 
Pfeiffer emphasizes Canaanite mate- 
rial. Speiser has the advantage here 
of being able to utilize recent re- 
searches not available when Pfeiffer 

The second section of the first part 
of the Introduction is entitled "Gene- 
sis of the Biblical Process" and is 
devoted to the author's special Bib- 
lical-theological contribution, namely 
Abrahamic monotheism. Our readers 
are familiar with a brand of Mosaic 
monotheism proposed and defended by 
the school of Albright (the general 
editor of this series). Many reputable 
scholars reject this idea and put the 
rise of true monotheism much later, 
say between the eighth and sixth 
centuries B.C. It is somewhat sur- 
prising, therefore, to find the author 
of this volume putting the origin of 

monotheism so early. The author 
himself knows that there will be rais- 
ing of eyebrows, and he seeks to 
ward off objections. Admitting that 
there is no firm basis for dating Abra- 
ham and no proof of his historicity, 
he yet makes bold to read the hypo- 
thetical mind of this hypothetical man. 
Mosaic monotheism is not the answer, 
Speiser thinks, because this would be 
"unthinkable without the prior labors 
of the patriarchs." But "there had 
to be a first time, and place, and 
person" — Abraham. Abraham lived in 
a polytheistic society ; he rebelled 
against it and came forth with the 
most important theological concept in 
history. The Mosaic monotheism of 
the Albright school was hard for 
many to take ; this will be harder. 
For one thing, Moses emerges more 
clearly in history as an individual ; no 
one thinks of Moses as the symbol 
of a tribe or an eponymous ancestor ; 
but all the patriarchs, from Abraham 
to Benjamin, have this symbolic and 
eponymous aspect, as Genesis 49:28 
clearly states. This tribal aspect is 
too much neglected by Speiser 
throughout the book. 

The second part of the Introduction 
treats of the literary structure of 
Genesis, the Mesopotamian background 
of the Primeval History, and prob- 
lems of exegesis and translation. Lack 
of space forbids detailed comment on 
all of these items. Most noteworthy 
is the discussion of the Mesopotamian 
background. Speiser is probably the 
outstanding living authority on this 
subject, and he here utilizes his vast 
knowledge most effectively to show 
why our Bible begins as it does and 
the meaning of this beginning. 

Some of Speiser's theories of trans- 
lation are to cut loose from depen- 
dence on previous versions, to be a 
bit daring in emendation when neces- 
sary, to clarify difficult passages by 
reference to Mesopotamian parallels, to 
keep in mind special Hebrew usages 
such as the intransitive Hiphil and 
the durative Hithpael, to use up-to- 
date but simple and correct English, 
and above all not to translate the same 
Hebrew word always by the same 


English word. This latter is indeed 
a good rule, like most of the others, 
but it is overdone here. E.g., a 
common Hebrew idiom, always mean- 
ing the same thing ("to take as a 
wife") is translated in five different 
ways. Commendable and interesting 
is this translator's sensitivity to hen- 
diadys. E.g., 1 :2, RSV "without form 
and void," Speiser "a formless waste" ; 
12:1, RSV "your country and your 
kindred," Speiser "your native land" ; 
24:27, RSV "his steadfast love and 
his faithfulness," Speiser "his stead- 
fast kindness" ; e t alibi. 

The body of the book is of course 
the translation, arranged in small sec- 
tions (not coterminous with the 
chapters), each section followed first 
by "Notes" then by "Comment." We 
conclude with a few of the most strik- 
ing translations, notes, or comments. 
1:2— Instead of RSV "the Spirit of 
God" or "the wind of God" (note), 
Speiser says "an awesome wind" and 
gives good parallels to show that the 
word Elohim should not always be 
translated literally as "God." 1 :26 — 
Instead of "Let us make man in our 
image, after our likeness," Speiser 
translates "I will make man in my 
image, after my likeness" ; this is the 
easy way out by refusing to see the 
problem of the "us." 2:11 — The river 
"winds through the whole land" in- 
stead of "flows around the whole 
land" — a considerable improvement. 
2:13 — "The land of Cush" here is not 
Ethiopia but the country of the Kas- 
sites, a Mesopotamian people (cf. 
10:8). 2:14— Hiddekel is translated 
into the better known name "Tigris." 
10:9 — "Nimrod, a mighty hunter by 
the will of Yahweh." 10:15— "Heth" 
here means not Hittites but Hurrians 
(Horites). 11 :28— Haran, not Ur, 
was Abraham's birthplace, according 
to Speiser ; Ur is an intrusion in the 
text (many will disagree). 12:13 — 
The wife-sister theme in Genesis can 
only be explained by customs peculiar 
to the Hurrians. Chapter 14 — This 
chapter cannot be assigned to any of 
the documents ; it stands apart and is 
from a very early, non-Hebrew 
source ; thus it offers a sort of non- 

Hebraic proof of the historicity of 
Abraham. Chapter 16 — A text from 
Nuzi illuminates the procedure where- 
by a childless wife provides her hus- 
band with a concubine to give him 
an heir, another instance of Hurrian 
background. 19 :30 — Speiser's remark, 
"Lot and his two daughters had every 
reason to believe that they were the 
last people on earth," sounds very 
modern. 22:1-19 — In spite of the use 
of Elohim- as the divine name, Speiser 
feels that this story of the near sacri- 
fice of Isaac is basically from J. 
Chapter 23 — The "children of Heth" 
in this chapter were probably similar 
to the Jebusites of Jerusalem, "not 
only non-Canaanite but non-Semitic 
as well." 

These few examples will serve to 
show the many interesting and valu- 
able observations in the volume. The 
author has spoken boldly, and often 
authoritatively. He cannot convince 
everybody on every point, but every- 
body can learn much from this book, 
and everybody can be grateful to the 
author for his labors and to the edi- 
tors and publisher for beginning a 
new series that will reveal to the 
general public much knowledge and 
many insights not found in previous 
works. — W. F. Stinespring. 

Archaeology of the New Testament. 
R. K. Harrison. Association. 1964. 
xiii + 138 pp. $3.95. 

The aim of this work is an admirable 
one, to describe ". . . the bearing of 
archaeology on the New Testament 
for the general reader, with annota- 
tions for the more advanced student" 
(p. xiii). The author discusses the 
type and value of archaeological dis- 
coveries for our understanding of the 
Palestinian background out of which 
Jesus came, of the Gospels, of Paul, 
and of the growing Church. Addi- 
tional chapters are included dealing 
with the Dead Sea Scroll community 
in Palestine and the Gnostic commun- 
ity in Egypt (Nag Hammadi). 

The reviewer feels that this work 
fails to do what it set out to do, 
namely to communicate archaeological 
information to the "general reader." 


Some of the blame for this must be 
placed upon those who placed the 
notes at the end of the book rather 
than at the bottom of the page. A 
second critcism is that the author uses 
terms (unexplained) which the gen- 
eral reader would probably not under- 
stand, i.e. "Hellenization" (p. 22). 
The tendency to compress has caused 
the work to be more rather than less 
difficult to understand. 

The reader must be cautioned con- 
cerning the error on p. 52, last line. 
The date there should be 23 A.D. 
rather than B.C. — James M. Efird. 

A Neiv Testament History: The 
Story of the Emerging Church. 
Floyd V. Filson. Westminster. 1964. 
xi + 435 pp. XVI Plates (West- 
minster Maps). $7.50. 

Most students of the New Testa- 
ment are delighted when they hear of 
a new book from Floyd V. Filson. 
They have good reason to be in this 
latest effort, for it reflects his years 
of mature and sound scholarship. It 
is indeed a worthy companion to John 
Bright, A History of Israel. 

The aim of this work is to give 
"the student, the minister, and the 
serious general reader ... a con- 
nected account of how the church 
emerged" (p. ix). Professor Filson 
begins his story with a discussion of 
the historical and religious background 
at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes 
(175 B.C.) and continues to the middle 
of the second century A.D. To ac- 
complish this end the author divides 
the period into five sections : The 
Background ; Jesus, the Central Fig- 
ure ; The Jerusalem Church ; Paul 
the Apostle to Gentiles ; and the 
Church Anchored in History. In- 
corporated into this historical frame- 
work are discussions of the New 
Testament literature and the prob- 
lems of the early Church, illustrated 
by reference to various types of lit- 
erature, Christian and non-Christian, 
canonical and non-canonical. 

The reader of this work finds many 
positive aids in addition to Filson's 
smooth and clear style of writing. 
The footnotes are numerous and give 

sources and direction for further read- 
ing. In addition to this one finds a 
set of the very fine Westminster Maps 
as well as a correlated chronology 
(General History with Jewish and 
Christian History, even though the 
latter is a bit sketchy at points) and 
a genealogy of the Herodian Family. 
There may be some readers who 
will not appreciate fully the historical 
orientation and emphasis of this work. 
Nevertheless, this is an excellent work, 
highly readable, and accomplishes its 
purpose admirably. It would be an 
excellent work for parish ministers 
to read to refresh themselves on New 
Testament history and introduction. 

— James M. Efird 

The Composition and Order of the 
Fourth Gospel. Bultmann's Literary 
Theory. Dwight Moody Smith, Jr. 
Yale Press. 1965. 272 pp. $10. 

Readers with little or no facility in 
German have been hopelessly handi- 
capped in their evaluation of Rudolf 
Bultmann's exposition of the Fourth 
Gospel. In his Theology of the New 
Testament, Bultmann derives John's 
theology from observations concerning 
the evangelist's sophisticated use of 
non-Christian, Gnostic source mate- 
rials, as well as of crassly miraculous 
traditions of Jesus' ministry. He also 
excises from the text of John passages 
which he attributes to an editor who 
sought to harmonize it with the 
Church's other gospels, and to con- 
form it to the Church's eschatology 
and sacramentalism. Until now, Bult- 
mann's method and argument support- 
ing these positions have been inac- 
cessible to English readers. With the 
publication of this valuable study, an 
expansion of the author's doctoral 
dissertation, there is no longer any 
excuse for an uncritical appropriation 
or dismissal of Bultmann's impressive 
interpretation of the theology of the 
Fourth Evangelist. 

Moody Smith (Duke B.D., 1957) 
has provided a clear exposition of 
Bultmann's complex theories concern- 
ing the production of the Gospel of 
John. He assumes that the reader has 
no acquaintance with Bultmann's crit- 


ical methods and describes in detail 
the stylistic, contextual and theological 
criteria by which Bultmann distin- 
guishes sources from the Fourth Evan- 
gelist's annotations and comment. He 
shows first how Bultmann discovers 
in the Prologue to the Gospel a 
major source, the Offcnbarungsreden 
(revelation discourses), observing its 
poetic form, the Semitic quality of 
its language, its Gnostic mythical mo- 
tifs. This source is said to underlie 
many of the discourses in the Gospel, 
e.g., chapters 3, 5, 10, 14-17. Bult- 
mann also finds in the Prologue's pro- 
saic explanations (1 :6-8, 15) telltale 
characteristics of the evangelist's 
literary style, manifest throughout the 
Gospel. These stylistic criteria en- 
able Bultmann to distinguish other 
written sources : the semeia-source 
(sign source) which provided most of 
the miracle stories in chapters 1-12; 
the passion-resurrection narrative 
which underlies 18:1-19:41; and, fi- 
nally, other fragmentary sources akin 
to Synoptic materials. Smith recon- 
structs the Greek text of all of these 
alleged sources. 

In a second section, Smith sum- 
marizes the critical reactions of nu- 
merous scholars, mostly European, to 
Bultmann's source theory. He has 
written an important chapter in the 
history of criticism of the Fourth 
Gospel, showing clearly that there 
has not been published a genuine al- 
ternative to Bultmann's account of 
the entire process of John's composi- 
tion. He concludes, however, that the 
critical examination of various ele- 
ments of Bultmann's theory has ma- 
terially weakened his case. Bult- 
mann's stylistic criteria seem inade- 
quate as a means of separating con- 
tinuous sources, especially the so- 
called O ffenbarungsredcn. Bultmann's 
belief that a Christian evangelist has 
taken a pre-Christian, Gnostic docu- 
ment, emptied of its mythical meaning, 
and made it "the theological back- 
bone" of his work is judged to be 
historically improbable. Also improb- 
able is Bultmann's supposition that 
a narrative tradition like the hypo- 
thetical sign source was circulated 

without containing Jesus' words. 
Smith observes the irony of Bult- 
mann's source criticism, that at the 
point where his theory "becomes en- 
tirely credible" his method is least 
useful. In the passion narrative, Bult- 
mann "has the greatest difficulty sepa- 
rating the source with precision, and 
the least success in finding stylistic 
evidence to undergird his proposal" 
(p. 113). 

The third section of the book ex- 
amines Bultmann's theory of the tex- 
tual disruption of the Fourth Evan- 
gelist's work, and of its imperfect 
restoration by "an ecclesiastical re- 
dactor," who appended chapter 21. For 
Bultmann, the most glaring examples 
of disorder are the position of chap- 
ter 6 after chapter 5 ; the structure 
of chapter 10; the present isolated 
position of 12:44-50; and the "ob- 
vious" disorder of chapters 13-17. 
Apparently the redactor was able 
neither to restore a badly mixed and 
mangled text nor remove the signs 
of his failure. Has Bultmann suc- 
ceeded where the original redactor 
and later editors have failed? Smith 
considers this to be unlikely; how- 
ever, for him it is not enough to 
conclude that Bultmann's rearrange- 
ments cannot be proven. He examines 
carefully Bultmann's arguments one 
by one. In each instance he assumes 
that the burden of proof is upon Bult- 
mann, who "must not only show that 
his order is preferable but also that 
the present one is so exceedingly diffi- 
cult as to be virtually impossible" 
(p. 130). The Greek text of Bult- 
mann's hypothetical "original" is 
printed in full. 

A final section examines Bultmann's 
views concerning the theology of the 
redactor. Smith refuses to dismiss 
their validity from the perspective of 
some alternately comprehensive view 
of John's theology or the develop- 
ment of the ancient Church which 
he is unable to establish in this study. 
His judgment is cautious: "when 
taken as a whole the material as- 
signed to redaction does not present 
an entirely consistent picture, nor 


does it lend unqualified support" to 
Bultmann's literary theory. 

Hopefully this fair presentation and 
assessment of Bultmann's method, and 
of the data on which his judgments 
are based, will lead to other and more 
satisfactory solutions. The reviewer 
agrees with the author : "Not until a 
comparably scientific exegesis of John 
appears can one rest easy with a 
substantially different interpretation 
of the theology of the Fourth Evange- 
list and his place in the development 
of Christian thought" (p. 249) — 
James L. Price. 

The Corinthian Church — A Biblical 
Approach to Urban Culture. Wil- 
liam Baird. Abingdon. 1964. 224 
pp. $4.75. 

"Some Ethical Issues in First Co- 
rinthians" might more appropriately 
have been the title and purview of 
Dr. Baird's book. The reference to 
"urban culture" in the title represents 
the thesis Dr. Baird has undertaken 
with little success. On the other hand, 
the book scores some solid pluses. 
The ethical issues are skillfully dis- 
tinguished, and the exposition of Paul's 
thinking is faithfully narrated. The 
book also provides an additional help- 
ful commentary on the Epistle, a 
thorough citation of authorities, and 
effective application to the life of the 
contemporary church. 

In First Corinthians, Dr. Baird re- 
minds us, Paul responded to several 
concrete ethical problems plaguing 
the Achaian church. The church was 
divided into "Paul," "Apollos," 
"Cephas" and "Christ" factions be- 
cause the members were too enamored 
of their own wisdom and too much 
inclined to personality cults. The 
apostle's solution was to urge the 
"wisdom of God" as opposed to the 
wisdom of this world and loyalty to 
God rather than apostles. Dr. Baird 
suggests that we may have in these 
Pauline admonitions the platform on 
the basis of which to move from the 
divisiveness of denominationalism to 
Christian unity. 

Relationships in the church at Cor- 
inth were threatened by incest and 

other forms of sexual deviation to 
which Paul's response was unequivo- 
cal. The church must separate sex 
offenders from itself. However, his 
ethic becomes relevant for Americans 
who find themselves in a sex revolu- 
tion, not in his out-of-hand con- 
demnation of deviation, but in his 
understanding of the newness of life 
in Christ and the seriousness of sin 
in the new humanity — "the corporate 
personality of the church." Turning 
to other issues, Dr. Baird says that 
what Paul deals with under the head- 
ing of "idolatry" we experience as 
secularism and that problems with 
worship in ancient Corinth and mod- 
ern megapolis reflect man's failure 
to understand his relation to God. 
With the exception of the last few 
pages of these chapters, the book re- 
flects the work of a journeyman 
craftsman, but, when he attempts to 
clinch his thesis, which should not 
have been undertaken, he apparently 
moves out of the area of his compe- 

It is unfortunate that the book un- 
dertakes as its thesis the proposition 
that the Corinthian church is an 
analogue of the church in contempo- 
rary urban culture characterized by 
problems and solutions for which there 
are modern parallels. The implica- 
tion is that Paul met, grappled with, 
and offered solutions for the prob- 
lems of the Corinthian urban culture 
and that those solutions provide light 
to illuminate our modern quest for 
answers to the problems of urbanism. 
Dr. Baird, however, fails to demon- 
strate a parallelism between the prob- 
lems of the Corinthian church and 
modern urban culture. At most, he 
succeeds only in convincing us that 
the modern church has, in some fash- 
ion problems like those of the Corin- 
thian church. 

To deal with uniquely metropolitan 
problems, Dr. Baird must face a 
complex of phenomena that are char- 
acteristic of and peculiar to our age. 
Today's giant city is today's child, 
born of the enabling inventions of 
rapid transportation and communica- 
tion. Mobility makes great concentra- 


tions of population possible and curses 
cities with unwanted by-products. 
Congestion, automation and impersonal 
interdependence are problems that must 
occupy any book aspiring to qualify 
as an essay on urban culture. The 
Corinthian Church hardly acknowl- 
edges the existence of such problems. 
From the standpoint of the mass of 
information presented, the book is 
impressive. The style is readable and 
lucid. In each chapter the reader is 
led through a careful study of the 
text under consideration to conclusions 
that are wrought out with patience 
and careful discrimination. The fact 
is that these essays should be and 
undoubtedly will be the bases of many 
sermons dealing with the ethical is- 
sues they discuss. — James M. Efird. 

The Epistles of James, Peter, and 
Jude. (Anchor Bible, Vol. 37) Bo 
Reicke. Doubleday. 1964. xxxviii, 
221 pp. $5. 

This is Volume 37 of The Anchor 
Bible. It is the first to appear of 
thirteen New Testament volumes (26- 
38). (See review on page 154.) 

The aim of this new series to make 
the Bible "accessible to the modern 
reader" cannot be considered a novel 
purpose, however worthy. The con- 
tent of this initial volume "is not 
meant to be overly technical," and 
indeed it is not. No Greek print is 
used and where Greek terms are 
needed in footnotes they are trans- 
literated. Yet this early volume does 
not promise a "popular" or layman's 
commentary, either. It is notable that 
Reicke (although he knows English 
well) composed in his native Swedish, 
which has been translated by Profes- 
sor A. V. Wallenkampf. 

The format of the new series is 
traditional too : introduction, transla- 
tion, commentary. Reicke's strongest 
point is translation, the most satisfy- 
ing element of his volume. The in- 
troduction element, however, is disap- 
pointing, for it turns back the calendar 
several decades, so as to invalidate in 
the view of many scholars much of 
the discussion. Furthermore, whereas 

the author emphasizes the judgment 
that "the political and social problems 
of their time were of extraordinary 
importance to both the writers and the 
readers of these epistles," little use is 
made of such knowledge in the exe- 
gesis of the text. The commentary 
does not demonstrate the principle 
that environmental circumstances are 
reflected in the epistles and are rele- 
vant to their understanding. Indeed, 
the provenance of these four epistles 
remains so unsettled that we scarcely 
know what environment to appeal to ; 
and Reicke explains of Jude that "the 
actual place of origin does not greatly 

The commentary element would 
serve far better if larger scope had 
been permitted, especially for a non- 
technical reader. One misses an ade- 
quate discussion of the theological 
messages of these epistolary homilies. 
The background of docetic and gnos- 
tic thought deserves primary atten- 
tion. The issue of "persecution" is 
not adequately weighed, even for an 
abbreviated report. If such factors 
were fully considered, it would be- 
come impossible to maintain the ultra- 
conservative position that all the New 
Testament documents were written 
before A.D. 100, and that First Peter 
appeared before A.D. 64. The view 
that Second Peter and Jude were 
about A.D. 90 derived from a com- 
mon oral source does not adequately 
account for the extensive and close 
literary kinship between them (Cf. 
Moffatt, Introduction, pp. 348-352). 
Completely disregarded is the new 
question thus raised : how shall we 
account for the origin of that earlier 
"oral source" — when, where, why, 
what circumstances called it forth, and 
why did it again become useful in two 
settings about A.D. 90? This is one 
of the elements in the highly con- 
jectual reconstruction of the environ- 
ment of these four epistles. It should 
have been reported also that the new 
Bodmer Papyrus (No. 72), written 
in the third century, is now (since 
1959) our earliest witness to the text 
of Jude and First and Second Peter. 
—Kenneth W. Clark. 

July 19-30, 1965 

Three clinics, running concurrently, will be conducted at the 
Duke Divinity School, July 19-30. These are designed for 
B.D. graduates who are willing to participate in two weeks of 
intensive training. A minister may enroll in only one clinic. 
Registration is open to ministers of all denominations. No aca- 
demic credit is given. 

PREACHING: The clinic will concern itself mainly with prin- 
ciples of sermon construction and delivery, 
giving ample opportunity for the participants 
to preach for critique. Matters of common con- 
cern for preachers will be discussed in plenary 
sessions. (Dr. Thor Hall, Director) 


The clinic in Pastoral Care has as its focus the 
Christian faith and its expression of and min- 
istry to selfhood. Through lectures, group dis- 
cussions, and hospital visitation experiences, 
explorations are made of the meaning of self- 
hood, the self in crisis, and the ministry to 
those caught in the crisis of illness. (Dr. 
Richard A. Goodling, Director) 


The Rural Church Clinic will consist of inten- 
sive training, study, and planning in the area 
of the church's responsibilities in the town and 
country community, giving particular emphasis 
to the development of an indigenous leadership. 
(Dr. M. Wilson Nesbitt, Director) 

The guest lecturer, who will give a series of four lectures during 
the second week of the program for all three clinics, is Dr. 
Creighton Lacy, Professor of World Christianity in The 
Divinity School and author of a book published this winter, 
The Conscience of India. 

For full information write to : Summer Clinics, Duke Divinity 
School, Box 4814, Duke Station, Durham, North Carolina, 

Costs: Registration Fee $10.00; Room, Board, and Travel. 
Methodist Ministers in North Carolina may inquire about 
special grants provided by the Rural Church Department of 
the Duke Endowment or the Board of Hospitals and Homes of 
the Annual Conference to cover costs. 



i4i/*K?W ill' 


A Sacristy Prayer 

O Lord God, dear Father in heaven, I am indeed unworthy of the 
office and ministry in which I am to make known Thy glory and nur- 
ture and to serve this congregation. But since Thou has appointed me 
to be a pastor and teacher, and the people are in need of the teachings 
and the instructions, O be Thou my helper and let Thy holy angels 
attend me. Then if Thou art pleased to accomplish anything through 
me, to Thy glory and not to mine or to the praise of men, grant me, 
out of Thy pure grace and mercy, a right understanding of Thy Word 
and that I may, also, diligently perform it. O Lord Jesus Christ, Son 
of the living God, Thou Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, send Thy 
Holy Spirit that He may work with me, yea, that He may work in me 
to will and to do through Thy divine strength according to Thy good 
pleasure. Amen. 

— Martin Luther 



Volume 30 Autumn 1965 Number 3 


A Sacristy Prayer, by Martin Luther Inside Cover 

The Substance and Changing Forms of the Ministry 163 

by Robert E. Cushman 

John Carlisle Kilgo as a Christian Educator 171 

by Paul N. Garber 

Religion and the Department of Religion at Duke 181 

by Thomas A. Langjord 

Religion on a State College Campus 191 

by Maurice Ritchie 

To Have and Have Not, by Hubert T. Davis 201 

Focus on Faculty, by Daniel M. Schores, Jr 203 

Looks at Books 205 

{including Preaching to be Understood by James T. Cl eland, 
and Christianity Amid Rising Men and Nations) 

Published three times a year (Winter, Spring, Autumn) 

by The Divinity School of Duke University 

in continuation of The Duke Divinitv School Bulletin 

Postage paid at Durham, North Carolina 

The Substance and Changing 
Forms of the Ministry 

Robert E. Cushman 


The ministry is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. It is so 
because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Jesus 
Christ is known to us in and through his ministry. His ministry is 
the sole justification of our ministry. There is no other. But the shape 
of our ministry may and does change. Indeed, it must change. We 
may well be stumbling blocks, possibly even enemies of Christ's 
ministry, when we keep trying to discharge the ministry in some age- 
encrusted form moulded by unchallenged precedent. For the ministry 
is both a calling and a task, and how it is discharged is a resultant of 
two things : what the ministry is in itself (that is, the calling) and how 
the shape of things in the world governs the mode of its fulfillment. 
That is the task, and in history it keeps changing. 

First of all, however, we must understand that the ministry to 
which we are conscious of call and toward which today we are looking 
with new earnestness will be an authentic ministry in so far as it 
recapitulates Christ's ministry. It is, of course, in this sense that I 
mean Christ's ministry is the only ministry we have and that, in 
point of fact, there is really no other. 

The central aim of theological education is to clarify the nature of 
this ministry, that we may one and all be grasped by it and galvanized 
for its fulfillment in us. Each must discover for himself — and then 
keep on rediscovering — what St. Paul meant by "this treasure we have 
in earthen vessels." The treasure surely includes "this ministry." It 
is ours not so much to possess as to discharge, and not so much to 
discharge as to be possessed and controlled by. 

We must surely also learn to understand St. Paul's meaning when 
he called this surrender of our existence "the ministry of reconcilia- 
tion" (II Cor. 5 :18). If so, it presupposes, of course, that reconcilers, 
first of all, are reconciled. In the New Testament that means, 

The address given at the opening Divinity School Convocation, September 23, 


reconciled to God and also to our neighbor. What reconciliation means 
with reference to both God and the neighbors keeps needing to be re- 
understood and reappropriated. 

However, for our purposes here it suffices to say that, upon 
whom it falls to be reconciled, there comes also the calling to be 
reconciler. None of the reconciled is excepted. None is exempted 
from service. This is the perennial truth in the Reformation watch- 
word, "the priesthood of all believers." All who are receivers of grace 
and know forgiveness are also mediators of grace and forgiveness. 

It is a fearful reminder of Jesus that they shall be "known by their 
fruits." The American savage was wont to count his scalps. The 
Gospel preacher of the same age might not scruple to count the "souls" 
won under his charge. Too often, the best we dare today is to count 
the members on our rolls ! Positivism has perhaps convinced us that 
souls are invisible magnitudes, hardly capable of numeration ! But, 
somehow or other, the fruits are to be known if, indeed, as our Lord 
warned, we are to be known by our fruits. And this being known 
is not limited to professionals ; it applies to all the reconciled equally, 
all of whom, equally, receive "the ministry of reconciliation." 

When St. Paul said God reconciled us to himself through Christ 
"and gave us the ministry of reconciliation," he was not referring to 
professionals, to a class of Christians, or to an order of clerics. Pri- 
marily, at least, he was referring to all who, through Christ, had been 
reconciled to God, that is, all those who know God, not as Judge but as 
Father, not as condemned but as accepted, and not as despairing but 
as full of hope, and not as aimless but as charged with a divine voca- 

This utterly new vocation is given to all believers, according to 
Paul. It charges life with dynamic for a superhuman task. It pene- 
trates human life with a transcendent purpose, and thus breaks 
through the "eternal recurrence" of the ancient view of history. In 
so far as Christian believers were made partners with Christ in the 
ministry of reconciliation, history acquired direction and meaning. It 
was transfigured by an end and purpose, never to be exhausted in 
history and only to be fulfilled beyond history. 

Nevertheless, history was transfigured. The Incarnation, the min- 
istry of Jesus Christ, invaded the circular plane of history and conferred 
meaning and purpose upon it, first in Christ himself, then through 
those to whom was given and who received the ministry of reconcilia- 
tion. In and through this conjoint ministry, that of Jesus Christ and 


that of the reconciled, the Eschaton replaced the tedium, the eternal 
recurrence of goalless history. Therewith, history itself became end- 
directed as well as end-controlled. The homelessness of man in the 
world was relieved by deathless partnership with the Eternal. It had 
been inaugurated in Time by this ministry. 


These are some of the things that may be discovered by those who 
will probe the meaning of "this ministry." Christ's ministry created 
and still creates a telos for history and, thus, bestows meaning upon it. 
The ministry persists today. It is still given. It may be received. If 
it is received, then its nature and essence are also given. That essence 
is Jesus Christ, known in his ministry. But its mode of discharge, the 
manner of its fulfillment, is not the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
Our problem today, indeed for centuries past, is that ministry has 
been tied to stereotyped forms and modes. 

How long shall we describe the hardening of tradition? It would 
take long. For one thing, ministry has come to mean a dichotomy 
among Christians, that between reconciled and reconcilers there are 
the "clergy" and there are the "laity" — the priesthood and the faithful. 
Between them a functional diversity long since became a difference in 
kind. It is this difference in kind between clergy and laity which is a 
chief, perhaps the chief, issue to be faced by the ecumenical movement 
of the next half-century. 

The difference in kind is closely associated with the cultus, with 
Christian worship — the preaching of the Word as well as the celebra- 
tion and administration of the sacraments. With whom, with what 
order of believers, does either prerogative or authority lie in these 
matters? The question is immensely complicated. Experience proves 
that the question is baffling and answers conflicting. 

Today I am interested in a particular bondage to tradition indige- 
nous to Protestantism and very much with us. In Protestantism the 
shape of the ministry was early impoverished by a narrowing of the 
function of the ministry. The minister became preacher and exhorter. 
In American evangelical Protestantism from the eighteenth century 
onwards, the minister of Christ became the "preacher." He is still 
"the preacher" in common American parlance. Indeed, so peremptory 
and controlling is the title that it not only largely constitutes the image 
but, in great measure, it determines the role and function of the 


American Protestant minister. The prevailing dichotomy is "preach- 
ers" and laity, or the pulpit and the pew. It is this narrowing and, I 
think, impoverishment of the glorious ministry by the tyranny of the 
preacher-concept that deserves scrutiny and candid re-evaluation in our 
time and place. 


The Reformation gave the Bible, the opened Bible, back to 
Christendom. That has proved to be a revolution in Christianity and, 
indeed, the basis of recurring ecclesiastical and theological change. In 
light of this experience and history it is not strange perhaps that some 
Catholic conservatives view with dismay all those declarations and 
actions of the Second Vatican Council which enlarge the use of the 
Scripture among the faithful. To the conservatives it is cause for grave 
misgivings and concern. 

With the Reformation, however, already in the sixteenth century, 
the appeal of Scripture against ecclesiastical tradition enthroned the 
principle sola Scriptura, and one consequence was a new and control- 
ling conception of the ministry. The Reformation did not, however, 
dethrone professionalism in the ministry despite its stress upon "the 
priesthood of all believers." It altered the role and function of the 
ministry. The shape was changed. The Bible was opened. The minis- 
try became the ministry of the Word, and its vehicle was preaching. 
Not that preaching was unknown before, rather, it now became the 
chief instrumentality of ministry — its presiding function — and the min- 
ister was destined to become primarily preacher. 

In the first two centuries of reformed Christianity the preacher was 
also, and with remarkable frequency, a learned and accomplished 
scholar. Often his Biblical knowledge, classical learning, and theologi- 
cal competence were extraordinary. His command of Biblical as well 
as classical languages was as astonishing as it was widespread. The 
seventeenth century produced theological erudition among clergy on a 
scale and measure never before nor since approximated. In that 
century, it seems, the Protestant ministry rose with a great impulse to 
accept and make the most of its new challenge and role as ministers 
of the sacred mysteries which had lately been opened. 

It was appropriate that in the Reformed churches the minister 
became the "teaching elder." The neglected deposit of divine truth, 
obscured by long neglect, awaited probing, clarification, and enuncia- 
tion. It required communication to men not a little eager for larger 


comprehension of the Sacred Word. The Word was the way and 
surety of salvation : "Break, thou, the bread of life, dear Lord, to me" 
was no idle petition. 

In the eighteenth century men still thirsted for the Sacred Word. 
On horseback and on foot they sought out Whitefield in Connecticut 
or Wesley at Bristol with the kind of eagerness and even hectic effort 
that, today, we Americans reserve for Saturday afternoon football 
games in October. 

In the early nineteenth century in America, probably the greatest 
public phenomenon was the Camp Meeting on the frontier or in 
more settled coastal areas. Here the Word of God was opened for 
men's eternal comfort. The key person was the preacher. He need 
not be a scholar. He had, however, to be possessed himself of the 
rudiments of the faith, not in the fine articulations of doctrinal 
theology, but in the bones and sinews of his own personal experience. 

He knew his Bible after a fashion. He was afire. He was eloquent 
if not always grammatical. He was the preacher, and through his 
words the Word of God got lodgement in the souls of hearers, often 
with both convulsive and transforming power. The place of worship 
was an open amphitheater of trees. The vaulted heavens were the 
dome of nature's vast cathedral, in which the sacrament of the Word 
was alone celebrated in almost complete isolation from every device, 
appointment, or formality of traditional Christian worship. 

There were three visible realities in this scene : the Bible, the 
preacher, and the people. Invisible, but no less present, were the Word 
of God and the Spirit that confirmed its truth to the hearts and minds 
of the contrite. It is this scene, with its visible and invisible realities, 
which once controlled and in great measure still controls the concep- 
tion of church and ministry in American evangelical Protestantism. 
Popular Protestant ecclesiology even today requires hardly more 
visible and invisible components than these : the Bible, the preacher, 
and the people, and invisibly present — if indeed there is so much 
Christian understanding — the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. As 
for the doctrine of the ministry, so powerful even yet is this nineteenth- 
century image that it still — despite all the overlay of accumulated 
twentieth-century functions — is pretty much simply the preacher. 


My question is : when will American evangelical Protestantism 
become candid enough openly to acknowledge an anachronism ? When 


will American Protestantism undertake a critical up-dating both of its 
frontier ecclesiology and of its traditional and extemporary notion of 
the ministry? I am convinced that, because it has failed to do so, 
replacements for ministerial ranks are ominously thinning. In part, 
the heart of the problem is that the form and shape of the ministry has 
been stereotyped by the nineteenth-century role and context of the 
ministry. The form has become "sacred" rather than the substance. 
The substance, which is unchanging, has been obstructed and obscured 
by roles and functions that are transient. The relative has been abso- 

This is the ancient temptation of the church in all ages respecting 
its ministry. It was so when a sacerdotal priesthood, as function, was 
rendered identical with Christ's ministry in its substance. No histori- 
cally conditioned function or functions can exhaust the substance of 
Christ's ministry entrusted to us. This means that of no one or more 
of them can it be claimed they merit the dignity of identity. Thus 
none of them is sacrosanct. They are, one and all, more or less 
adequate vehicles of the Word of God to men. And the latter is the 
ministry of Jesus Christ. 

Such a word as this to you who enter the Divinity School or 
continue your studies in it ought not to end without a definite sug- 
gestion. It is a suggestion I shall have to enlarge upon, perhaps at a 
subsequent Convocation. It is this : in our time, place, and culture the 
shape of the ministry needs to be more nearly that of teacher than of 
preacher. There will always be the time and place of proclamation. 
The pulpit must not be abandoned but properly filled. But the pulpit 
in Protestantism has become well-nigh as remote from the people as, in 
medieval Catholicism, the altar was remote, forbidden, and forbidding 
to them. 

The reasons for this are wide-ranging, intricate, and many-sided. 
But this which I believe to be true means that, in our time and situa- 
tion, the pulpit and the preaching role may be inadequate and even 
faltering vehicles of the ministry of the Word of God. At the very 
least, the pulpit must become far less the place of declamation and far 
more the place of teaching and vision. 

You may one day become a great preacher. I hope you will. But 
I express the view, which is also a warning, that the great preacher 
of tomorrow will not be a stereotype of the great preachers of yester- 
day. No overlay of unction or native or acquired eloquence, aping the 
past, will assure you of a resonant audience tomorrow. Nineteenth- 


century eloquence presupposed, perhaps correctly, more from its 
audience in understanding and vital concern than a twentieth-century 
congregation can ordinarily muster. Modern man is de-moralized, 
proportionately ignorant, doubly sophisticated, and surfeited with 
panaceas. He is at once spiritually homeless and remarkably at home 
in the world. Above all, he does not know presently whether there is 
need to look seriously for a transcendent reference for life beyond its 
given exasperations and, on the whole, its sufficient joys. 

When you enter the pulpit, it is to this man you speak despite his 
membership cards. There is distance between you. It is not all of your 
making. But the pulpit is almost this man's spiritual antipodes, and 
you are in it ! How will you diminish the distance and overleap the 
chasm? When you declaim and exhort, it is not so much that your 
words go over his head or pass him by as that some words just don't 
reach him. Sometimes the difference of a whole universe of purpose, 
interest, or discourse lies between you. You may well be answering 
questions he is not asking any more, or has not yet thought to ask. 
And even if your answers awake glimmers of comprehension of the 
importance of questions for which they are the answers, still they are 
pulpit questions and answers that presume an authority which tends 
to make you curiously other and apart. 

In the pulpit and out of it, in every possible context, in all areas 
of your pastoral service and work, your role today is more nearly 
teacher and confessor than pulpit declaimer. You will teach by listen- 
ing, by asking the right questions, by throwing others back more than 
by declaration. You will put more trust in public and private prayer 
than in high-styled eloquence. But if these things are so, then you also 
have a great deal to learn beforehand, and all the time, about the real 
substance of your ministry. You have to know above all else what it is 
that constitutes the ministry of Jesus Christ, who he is, and how and in 
what ways, as his successor, you are related to him. I suggest that this 
is an enormous task, and presupposing the enlightening assistance of 
the Holy Spirit, we are, in this place, especially charged to get at it. I 
welcome you to the task today, and wish for you very rich fruitions 
tomorrow, next year, and in all the years ahead. 

Calendar of Public Lectures 

Eleven o'clock Assembly in York Chapel 

December 8— LIBRARY LECTURE, Dr. Elizabeth Sewell, 
author, Salisbury, England. 

January 5 — Dr. G. Paul Butler, editor of Best Sermons. 

February 9— MISSION LECTURE, Mrs. Porter Brown, 
Executive Secretary, Methodist Board of Missions. 

February 16— Prof. Alexander A. DiLella, O.F.M., Holy 
Name College, Washington, D.C. 

March 16 — Dr. Alan F. Geyer, Executive Secretary, Council 
for Social Action, United Church of Christ. 

April 20 — Mr. William Stringfellow, Counsellor at Law, New 
York City. 

May 11— FACULTY LECTURE, Prof. Frank Baker. 

John Carlisle Kilgo as a 
Christian Educator 

Paul N. Garber 
Bishop of the Raleigh Area, The Methodist Church 

Bishop John Carlisle Kilgo was born in a Methodist parsonage, 
and it was in the home of his good parents that he received the first 
principles of Christian education. His father, James Tillman Kilgo, 
represented the highest type of Methodist circuit rider of his day, and 
although he had been denied educational advantages he was deter- 
mined to educate his own children. "I will live on bread and water 
and wear patched clothes," he declared, "before I will throw my 
children on society uneducated." In order to do this he economized 
in every way. Although his annual salary never exceeded seven 
hundred dollars, yet all his children were able to secure some college 

Although the greater part of his life was spent in the work of 
Christian education, John Carlisle Kilgo never received what could 
be considered a regular college education. Because of the weakness of 
his eyes he was forced to leave Wofford College at the end of his 
sophomore year. His only other formal education was a course of 
private study under Professor Henry N. Snyder, later president of 
Wofford College. Although his college training was obtained in an 
unusual manner, Kilgo continued his education throughout life by 
copious reading. He became a studious man and by his own efforts 
he was able to remedy the loss which he had suffered from his inter- 
rupted college course. 

Upon leaving Wofford College Kilgo followed in the footsteps of 
his father and in 1882 joined the South Carolina Conference. From 
1882 to 1888 Kilgo served as pastor and made such a unique record as 
a young preacher that he was called upon by his conference, in 1888, 
to become the financial agent of Wofford College. Although this ap- 
pointment came as a surprise to Kilgo, he entered immediately with 
vigor into his new work. He became the spokesman of the college at 

An address delivered at the dedication of the John Carlisle Kilgo Porch of the 
Divinity School, May 12, 1965. 


official Methodist gatherings in South Carolina. He not only ex- 
plained the needs of Wofford College to the various district confer- 
ences, but visited also the local churches and proclaimed the cause of 
Christian education. His most immediate task was the raising of funds 
for Wofford College, and his labors in this field had the effect of 
making it possible for the faculty members of Wofford College to 
receive their entire salaries for the first time since 1865. While serving 
as financial agent Kilgo became a member of the faculty of Wofford 
College and thereby had contacts not only with the constituency of 
the college but also with student life on the campus. 

The six years during which he served as agent of Wofford Col- 
lege proved to be valuable years for Kilgo, for during that period he 
formed many of his basic educational ideals . . . views which he later 
put into practice as president of Trinity College. He came to the 
following conclusions : ( 1 ) That a great college could not be built in 
the South upon popular subscription, because as he contended, the 
average Southerner could not visualize the large amount of money 
needed for higher education. (2) Kilgo came to realize that the 
Southern colleges would always be handicapped if the weakness of 
preparatory education and low standards of higher education con- 
tinued. (3) He came to the conclusion that the Methodists at the close 
of the nineteenth century were not aware of their educational duty. He 
deplored the lukewarmness of the church toward higher education. 
(4) He came to formulate a basic educational concept, namely, that 
true higher education could only be secured at institutions conducted 
under Christian auspices. He declared that mental culture at the 
expense of spiritual development would ever be at a discount. 

At the time when Kilgo was becoming prominent as a Methodist 
educational leader in South Carolina, the presidency of Trinity College 
at Durham, North Carolina, became vacant, and attention was given to 
Kilgo as a good prospect for the presidency. A special committee of 
the Board of Trustees interviewed Kilgo at Wofford College, and 
upon the recommendation of this committee, the Board of Trustees on 
July 31, 1894 elected Kilgo as president of Trinity College. Sixteen 
days after his election Kilgo reached Durham and immediately as- 
sumed the supervision of the affairs of Trinity College. From that 
date until July 1, 1910 Kilgo was president of Trinity College, and 
during that period the life of the institution and the activities of the 
president were so closely interwoven that Trinity and Kilgo became 
almost synonymous terms. 


Trinity College, to which Kilgo came as president in 1894, was 
founded in 1838 by Quakers and Methodists in Randolph County who 
desired a school to provide for their local educational needs. The 
name first given to this school was Union Institute but was changed in 
1851 to Normal College. In 1858 the North Carolina Conference was 
asked to assume control of Normal College, and accordingly in 1859 
a new charter was secured and the name of the institution was changed 
to Trinity College. Under the leadership of Braxton Craven, and with 
the patronage of the Methodists, the college had a fair degree of 
prosperity until the outbreak of the War Between the States when 
this institution, like other Southern colleges, felt the hard effects of war 
and reconstruction. In 1887 John Franklin Crowell became the 
president of Trinity College, and perhaps the greatest contribution 
which he made to Trinity College was to remove it from the small town 
of Trinity to Durham. This was accomplished by September, 1892, 
through the generous financial assistance of two Methodist laymen of 
Durham, Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr. 

Notwithstanding the advantage to the college of its removal to 
Durham, no sooner had the transfer been made than the institution 
became involved in a number of embarrassing difficulties. The major 
problem was financial and this was aggravated by the panic of that 
period. A situation soon developed until there was a feeling among the 
most loyal supporters that the institution might have to close. The 
college seemed also to be losing the support of one of its benefactors, 
Washington Duke. The morale of Trinity College was at a low ebb 
when Kilgo assumed the presidency, but this situation did not dis- 
courage Kilgo and to him, therefore, belongs the credit of the rebuild- 
ing of Trinity College. 

When Kilgo became president of Trinity College, the endowment 
was less than $25,000, and the value of the property did not exceed 
$200,000. For sixteen years Kilgo served as president of Trinity 
College, and when he retired Trinity College had the largest endow- 
ment of any Southern college and had assets to the amount of one and 
a quarter million dollars. The story is familiar to all Southern Meth- 
odists of how Kilgo inspired Washington Duke and his sons with the 
vision of a greater Trinity College. From 1896 to 1910 Washington 
Duke and his sons, Benjamin Newton and James Buchanan, made 
such liberal contributions to Trinity College that in contrast with most 
Southern educational institutions, it became free from serious financial 


problems. In 1910 Kilgo could declare that Trinity College could 
obtain all funds necessary for future expansion. 

The securing of a large endowment for Trinity College was only 
one phase of the rebuilding of Trinity College under Kilgo's leader- 
ship. During his presidency academic standards were raised beyond 
those of the average Southern college or university, and Trinity Col- 
lege by 1903 could boast of a modern library building and adequately 
equipped laboratories. Trinity College also became noted for an out- 
standing faculty, for leadership in female education in the South, for 
elevating the standards of legal education, for scholarly publications, 
for interest in secondary education, for opposition to professionalism 
in inter-collegiate athletics, and for upholding academic freedom. It 
is interesting to note that when the Association of Colleges and 
Preparatory Schools of the Southern States was founded for the pur- 
pose of maintaining high educational standards in the South 
Trinity College was the only institution of college status that was a 
charter member. Kilgo proved from 1894 to 1910 that he was an edu- 
cational executive capable of rebuilding Trinity College upon modern 
and firm foundations. 

John Carlisle Kilgo made a great contribution to Christian educa- 
tion by bringing material resources to Trinity College, but he did 
even a greater thing for Christian education by holding that a true 
Christian educator had to be a leader of the people ; that he had to be 
in advance of popular opinion. Kilgo refused to be simply the spokes- 
man for an existing order of things but instead held before the students 
and constituency of Trinity College a picture of what should be in a 
Christian society. 

As president of Trinity College Kilgo championed many causes 
which were not popular seventy years ago, but which today are ac- 
cepted by the majority of Southern people. Although born in the 
South, Kilgo became a severe critic of Southern conservatism and he 
held that it was the task of Southern colleges to help the people break 
from the conservatism of the past. During his administration Kilgo 
repeatedly announced that the duty of Trinity College was to make 
public opinion rather than follow it, and he never abandoned his pur- 
pose of making Trinity College an institution that dared, if necessary, 
to oppose public opinion. In Kilgo's opinion the search for truth was 
the primary task of an educational institution, and he held that truth 
should be accepted wherever it might be found. Another fundamental 
conception believed by Kilgo was that the influence of an educational 


institution should be responsibly related in an active way to all 
problems of society. "It is not believed at Trinity College," he as- 
serted, "that the place of a college is apart from the questions of trade, 
of society, of politics and of religion. On the contrary it is believed 
that participation in those affairs is a distinct duty of a college." 
Kilgo held that educational institutions should not allow fear of adverse 
criticism to keep them from taking a stand on controversial problems. 
Kilgo especially resented political interference in Southern colleges and 
universities. Although he was born in 1861 and was reared in South 
Carolina during the reconstruction period, under his leadership 
Trinity College became noted for the championship of nationalism. 
According to Kilgo, sectionalism and provincialism were two primary 
curses of the Southern people. He severely attacked the Southern 
political leaders who made use of the sectional issues, and he demanded 
a new leadership that would throw aside this emotional appeal. Kilgo 
held that it was absurd for individuals to become permanently aligned 
with any one political party, and instead championed the cause of the 
independent voter. It was Kilgo's earnest desire to create a spirit at 
Trinity College that would counteract the prevailing bitter Southern 
partisanship. From the chapel platform he begged the students not to 
become narrow partisans. Kilgo took a pronounced stand in favor 
of the industrial development of the South and at a time when the 
Southern industrial leaders were being severely assailed Kilgo 
defended them. He denounced the demagogues who were taking 
advantage of Southern industrial development to arouse class hatred. 
Kilgo's views were many years in advance of Southern thought con- 
cerning the Negro. He took a liberal attitude regarding the relation- 
ship of the two races in the South. Trinity College, under Kilgo's 
leadership, became noted for an honest attempt to solve the racial 
issue. The first speech ever delivered by Booker T. Washington on the 
platform of a white Southern educational institution was made at 
Trinity College under the invitation of Kilgo. 

It was fortunate for Kilgo that he was a crusader and fighter, for 
many of his principles were in advance of public opinion in the South 
and ran counter to existing public sentiment in North Carolina. In the 
decade following 1894 political passions were strong in North Caro- 
lina, and crude methods were used to dispose of an unorthodox leader. 
It was still a period of intense sectionalism. During the last decade 
of the nineteenth century the Negro was removed from political life 
in North Carolina and that made very delicate any discussion of the 


racial issue. Kilgo championed the industrial development of the 
Southern states at a time when opposition to large industries was rife 
in North Carolina. The Old North State in 1894 had not yet accepted 
the principle of academic freedom. It was heresy to hold that an edu- 
cational institution was free to proclaim truth if it were opposite to the 
prevailing public sentiment. 

Kilgo's program to make Trinity College a progressive and free 
institution where academic freedom would prevail did not succeed 
without a struggle on Kilgo's part. During the entire period of his 
presidency he was compelled to fight against those individuals who 
would deny academic freedom to an educational institution. As early 
as 1897 a determined effort was made to remove Kilgo from the presi- 
dency on the ground that as president of Trinity College he was 
expressing views that were contrary to the public opinion of the state. 
His main opponent asserted that no college could teach political, social 
and economic views that were counter to those held by the majority 
of the citizens. Kilgo held that such a policy would result in intel- 
lectual decay, for no progress could be made if professors were to be 
tied to the opinions of the past, many of which were proving to be 
false in the face of new investigations. It was in his famous speech 
of defense before the Board of Trustees in 1897 that Kilgo proclaimed 
in these words his views of academic freedom at Trinity College : "By 
the eternals, she shall be free. No political power, nor any other, 
shall ever chain her, but over and above everything else she shall 
answer to God and obey the truth, and that is what they do not want." 

Kilgo weathered the attack upon him in 1897, but six years later 
in 1903 he again had to defend academic freedom at Trinity College 
in what is known as the famous Bassett episode. Professor John S. 
Bassett in a discussion in the South Atlantic Quarterly of the Negro 
situation in the South made certain statements which were contrary 
to Southern public opinion in regard to the racial issue. There were 
individuals in North Carolina who refused to accept the point of view 
presented by Professor Bassett, and in addition they were determined 
to deny him the freedom of expressing such opinions, and if neces- 
sary boycott the educational institution that employed him. Those of 
us who live sixty years removed from the Bassett episode have a 
difficult time understanding the campaign of ridicule, vilification and 
vituperation that descended upon Trinity College. A demand arose in 
the press for the removal of Bassett from the faculty of Trinity College, 
and along with this was the cry that Kilgo retire from the presidency 


of the college. North Carolinians were urged to boycott Trinity Col- 
lege unless Bassett were removed. 

The Bassett episode reached such large proportions that the Board 
of Trustees was forced to meet in special session on December 1, 1903 
in order to face this matter. Kilgo appeared before the Board of 
Trustees and in a speech of more than one hour in length, in what has 
been described as "unsurpassed eloquence," he presented to the 
Trustees the real issue of academic freedom as it was involved in the 
Bassett episode. Kilgo declared that he did not agree with all of 
Bassett's views, but he pointed out that the problem before the trustees 
was not to pass upon the action of an individual, but to settle forever 
the attitude of Trinity College toward academic freedom. Kilgo 
admitted that the college might lose patronage by refusing to remove 
Bassett. "But, gentlemen," he continued, "if the worst must come to 
the worst, I have no hesitancy in saying that it were better that Trinity 
College should work with ten students than it should repudiate and 
violate every noble principle of the Christian religion, the high virtues 
of this commonwealth, and the foundation spirit of this nation . . . Per- 
sonally I should deem it an honor to teach ten men who love truth and 
believe in tolerance, and I should count it a shame to teach a thousand 
who believed in intolerance and regarded intellectual bondage a com- 
mendable virtue." Again he declared: "Personally, I should prefer 
to see a wild hurricane break out of some awful fastness and sweep 
from the face of the earth every rock and brick and piece of timber, 
than to see Trinity College committed to the policies of the Inquisi- 
tion, and the note of liberty be forever stricken from her tongue." He 
concluded his address with these famous words : "Better forgive and 
die, than hate and live ; better be tolerant and cease to be than to be 
intolerant in luxurious prosperity; better persuade and be forgotten 
than to coerce and be applauded." Furthermore Kilgo was willing to 
stake his own future on the principles enunciated in his address on 
academic freedom. His relationship with Trinity College would have 
ended if the trustees had accepted Bassett's offer of resignation, for 
while he was delivering his plea for academic freedom Kilgo had in 
his pocket his own resignation, ready for presentation to the Board of 
Trustees in case of an adverse decision in regard to Bassett. 

The educational world will never forget the famous decision of 
the Board of Trustees in the Bassett episode. In the face of hostile 
public opinion the trustees not only refused to accept the proposed 
resignation of Bassett, but also issued the historical declaration of 


academic freedom held by Trinity College. In this declaration the 
trustees declared that any form of coercion of thought and private 
judgment was contrary to one of the constitutional aims of Trinity 
College, which was to cherish a sincere spirit of tolerance. The trustees 
under Kilgo's leadership aligned themselves with the forces of 
academic freedom. Nobly they asserted: "Great as is our hope in this 
college, high and noble as are the services which under God we 
believe it is fit to render, it were better that Trinity College should 
suffer than that it should enter upon a policy of coercion and intoler- 

Great academic achievements represent the work of many individ- 
uals and no claim is made that academic freedom was secured at 
Trinity College by the singlehanded activity of John Carlisle Kilgo. 
He built upon the foundations laid by his predecessors. He had the 
assistance of a great faculty and noble benefactors, and he was sup- 
ported by a liberal Board of Trustees. It must, however, be admitted 
that, by Kilgo's determination that an educational institution should 
guide public opinion rather than be moulded by it, he kept alive at 
Trinity College a liberal academic spirit ; and when the Bassett episode 
occurred he did not shirk his responsibility. When Kilgo retired as 
president of Trinity College in 1910, he left behind a free college as a 
monument to his labors. 

The contributions of John Carlisle Kilgo to Christian education 
cannot be told alone by the rebuilding of Trinity College or by his fight 
for academic freedom. Kilgo can be designated as a Christian educator 
because he actually proclaimed Christian education. His definition of 
Christian education was "education that assumes Christ's estimate of 
all things, and seeks to develop manhood in the light of His ideals, 
and by His methods, and inculcates His truths as the fundamental 
truths of personal and social character." Kilgo asserted that Christian 
education presented the only true conception of human nature. Since 
the most catholic character of history was Christ, Kilgo contended 
that the broadest education was that based upon the teachings o\ 

Throughout his life Kilgo held that convictions were worth fighting 
for, and in the field of Christian education he made no exception to 
this rule. He felt that it was not enough merely to have beliefs, for 
he contended that truth would never win unless it were embodied in a 
dynamic movement. Kilgo came to Trinity College feeling that he had 
been divinely called to guide the destiny of a college that stood for his 


theory of Christian education. His conviction on this point was so 
pronounced that he literally led a crusade in North Carolina in behalf 
of Christian education. He visited churches, schools, and conferences 
explaining the merits of Christian education. He delivered his famous 
address on Christian education in almost every county in North 
Carolina. In 1895 he was credited with speaking during the year to 
more people in the state than any other man. Kilgo not only gave 
to the state a logical exposition of Christian education, but in doing 
this he aroused the Methodists to a greater enthusiasm for Christian 
education and a larger support of Trinity College. Then, too, Kilgo in 
proclaiming Christian education aided the development of the public 
school system in North Carolina. The administration of Governor 
Charles B. Aycock was noted for the building of public schools in 
North Carolina, but it is doubtful if Aycock's educational program 
could have been pressed so rapidly had it not been for the fact that for 
six years prior to 1901 Kilgo had been preaching the cause of educa- 
tion in practically every part of the state. 

In the last place, John Carlisle Kilgo was a Christian educator be- 
cause moral and religious idealism were foremost in his academic 
program. Kilgo did not believe that the securing of an adequate 
endowment and other material assets completed his work as presi- 
dent of Trinity College; nor did he hail the raising of scholastic 
standards or the victory for academic freedom as his greatest contribu- 
tions. Kilgo felt that it was his perpetual duty to keep before the 
student body the challenge of moral and religious idealism. To him, 
Christian education meant a positive religious program on the campus. 

Through his chapel talks Kilgo wielded a great moral and religious 
influence upon the students. It is doubtful if any man ever exerted 
a more wholesome or uplifting influence over a body of college 
students than did Kilgo in his talks with his boys. Kilgo continued 
his religious and moral emphasis in the classroom. He taught only a 
few courses but students never forgot the messages they received 
through his instruction. When students became ill, Kilgo would visit 
with them in their rooms and often pray with them as if he were their 
pastor. He never allowed a member of the senior class to leave college 
without a final heart-to-heart talk with him. In 1901 Kilgo could 
report that of the students who had graduated since 1894 all but five 
at the time of graduation had been church members. 

From the foregoing facts which I have presented I believe you will 
agree with me that John Carlisle Kilgo can be designated as a great 


Christian educator. It is, therefore, most fitting that in the renovation 
building program of Duke University the name of John Carlisle Kilgo 
should be linked with the Divinity School of Duke University. The 
educational principles of John Carlisle Kilgo apply not only to the 
period from 1894 to 1910, but in my estimation they are basic princi- 
ples of education in any generation. I conclude by listing again 
the educational principles which were sponsored by John Carlisle 
Kilgo. (1) The upholding of high academic standards. (2) The 
securing of adequate financial resources for the college. (3) An honest 
belief in academic freedom. (4) Leadership in public opinion and the 
refusal to adopt a spirit of intolerance in order to cater to the changing 
waves of public sentiment. (5) A belief that Christian education is an 
education penetrated with the spirit of Christianity, in which the 
methods employed by Christ are the standards of pedagogy, in which 
reverence for God underlies all search for truth. (6) The upholding 
of the religious and moral factors in higher education and the demand 
that there shall be a union of the forces of religion and education in 
the common task of producing a noble civilization. It is my hope and 
prayer that these sacred principles held by John Carlisle Kilgo may 
always be a vital part of the life of the Divinity School of Duke Uni- 

Religion and the Department of 
Religion at Duke 

Thomas A. Langford, '54 
Chairman, Department of Religion, Duke University 

The role of a department of religion in a university must con- 
tinually be reassessed. In an effort to understand some of the problems 
and explore areas of promise in our department at Duke, I would 
like to discuss several major points. The issues which seem to stand 
out most prominently and merit careful evaluation are those of the 
relation between a college chaplain and a teacher of religion, the re- 
quirement of religion at Duke, and the Protestant heritage of our 
university and our department. 

Teacher and Chaplain 

One of the most difficult issues to keep clear in regard to the role 
of religion on a college campus is the relation between the practice 
of religion and the teaching of it. Is the teacher of religion also to be 
understood to have the responsibilities of a chaplain? If not, what is 
the distinction? To clarify the discussion, perhaps we should begin 
by contrasting the two roles. The stance of the minister is one of 
worshipful adoration and faithful proclamation. The stance of the 
student of religion, whether teacher or pupil, is one of critical assess- 
ment and candid evaluation. 

If this distinction is acknowledged, the role of the teacher of 
religion is clearly different from that of the campus chaplain. The 
chaplain has a responsibility to reinforce faith, to proclaim its meaning 
and its relevance, and to lead in the act of worship. The teacher has a 
responsibility to investigate the relation of religious expression to its 
own acknowledged sources, to decipher the interrelatedness of religion 
and culture and to bring a mind well-prepared in all relevant branches 
of learning to bear upon the nature and function of religion. The 
chaplain is proclaimer, and at times apologist ; the teacher is investiga- 
tor and interpreter. 

In the academic study of religion an intellectual approach is neces- 
sitated. While such an approach does not exclude or attempt to hide 


the basic life commitment, it does mean that this task is understood to 
be primarily rational and critical in nature. To place the emphasis in 
this way points to the fundamental distinction between the academy 
(the intellectual study of religion) and the chapel (the life of worship). 
As members of the academic community, the faculty of the department 
of religion is a part of the university and shares a primary obligation to 
investigate, interrogate, evaluate and criticize the religious phenom- 
enon in its variant forms and in its multiple interconnections with 
the cultural context. This responsibility is an intellectual task and 
it must be kept distinct, even if it cannot be completely separated, from 
the priestly and prophetic roles of the minister. 

The functional distinction I am making is a matter of emphasis, 
but the correct ordering of the emphases is absolutely essential if the 
members of the department of religion are to have an authentic place 
in the university as an educational institution. What this means, stated 
baldly, is that the department of religion is not an evangelistic arm 
of the church. The department has its own special function in the 
over-all economy of religious responsibility as well as in the economy 
of academic responsibility. 

To describe the roles of the chaplain and the teacher in this sharply 
bifurcated manner is, of course, to overlook a primary fact, namely, 
that multiple commitments often inhere in one person. The student 
of religion who is also a man of faith cannot, with validity, deny either 
of these claims which impress themselves upon him. The chaplain who 
is student and critic as well as prophet and priest also feels the same 
divergent claims. Yet, once again, the primary function of the two 
vocations is different and the difference must not only be recognized 
but also carefully guarded. 

However, to point to divergent interests which coinhere in the 
single person does not necessitate a schizophrenic existence for either 
the chaplain or the teacher. Uncriticized faith is not the faith which 
the minister has been commissioned to proclaim. Theology underlies 
faith as its servant, and faith better understood is faith better pro- 
claimed. Cynical investigation which knows beforehand that truth is 
not to be found in the tradition is unauthentic. It is not necessary to 
hold that faith must be unquestioning or that interrogation is the 
denial of faith. Both faith with its questions and questioning with its 
faith can and do live together in the same man. Nonetheless, some 
men serve their faith in an academic community as ministers. Others 


serve their faith as scholars and teachers. Each has his own responsi- 
bilities and in his own way contributes to the practice and study of 

The Requirement of Religion at Duke 

There is another important dimension to our discussion of the 
teaching of religion at Duke and this is the requirement that all 
students in Trinity and the Women's College take six hours of work 
in the study of religion. First, let me briefly describe this required 
work. Each student must take a one-semester course in Old Testament 
studies and a one-semester course in New Testament studies ; or, as an 
alternative, they may take a one-semester course which covers both the 
Old and the New Testaments and a subsequent semester's work in one 
of three areas : the Life and Teaching of Jesus, Christian Ethics or 
History of Religions. 

In commenting upon this requirement, let me make a simple ob- 
servation. What any school requires beyond the most minimal work in 
"tool" courses depends almost entirely upon the character of the 
institution. To require nothing beyond English, math, foreign lan- 
guage and a natural science says quite as clearly what a school is like 
and what its basic value judgments are as does the requirement of any 
particular, additional course. Duke, reflecting its history and its pur- 
poses, requires religion, and in this it has expressed its character and 
has maintained a distinctiveness. 

It is significant when a school retains what is of value from its past. 
But a retention of the past which intends to hold on to the past in an 
uncritical manner or in order to avoid facing the present is irresponsi- 
ble and indefensible. What, then, are some of the reasons which 
make this requirement both reasonable and desirable? First, there is 
the undeniable impact of religion on every culture and, more partic- 
ularly, on the Judaeo-Christian tradition in Western culture. Let 
me illustrate this from an experience on the Duke campus. Several 
years ago Dylan Thomas was visiting our school. In a discussion after 
his public appearance a personal friend of his asked in private con- 
versation, "Dylan, are you a Christian? I am struck by the way 
Christian symbolism pervades your work." After a moment's reflec- 
tion Thomas replied, "No, I'm not a Christain . . . but I do use 
Christian symbolism . . . How else can one speak in our culture?" 

The fundamental place which religion has in the life of man has 
had inevitable cultural implications and expressions. But the relation 


of religion to its cultural context is of a reciprocal nature. Not only 
has religion influenced its culture, the cultural context has also 
influenced the expression and interpretation of religion. The intention 
of the religion requirement is to reveal the religious dimension of our 
culture and the cultural dimension of religion to our students. Thus, 
it is an effort to confront our students with their own religious and 
cultural inheritance. This may or may not have an integrative 
function in the student's own self-awareness and emotional or intel- 
lectual or spiritual maturation. This result the department of religion 
cannot and does not attempt to enforce. But Duke University was 
built upon the belief that the Christian faith can have such a function, 
that learning and religion are integrally related. The requirement at- 
tempts to provide the student with a background sufficient to help him 
understand this tradition and make a responsible decision in regard 
to this way of life. By including the present requirement of biblical 
study in its basic curriculum, the university bears witness to its 
founder's vision of and to its faith in "the eternal union of knowledge 
and religion." 

At present we are faced with a fundamental cultural transforma- 
tion. There is little doubt that we are now already in what has been 
called a "post-Christian" era, but which can more exactly be called 
a "post-Constantinian" epoch. This is to say, we are beyond that point 
in the movement of Western culture when religion in general or 
Christianity in particular fundamentally informs our social context. 
No longer do we have the religious supports which help to strengthen 
and enforce exclusively religious interpretations of life. Such a cul- 
tural change implies two things for our discussion. First, in order to 
meet the new present and the changing future, it is of prime importance 
to understand our past. We are entering a new cultural setting, but 
we do not enter it without a long history, and to understand that 
history in terms of the interplay of religion and culture will both 
release us from false claims made on behalf of each of these factors and 
also provide us with a basis by which we can begin to understand the 
authentic contributions of each to the other. Second, we are living in a 
time when it is difficult, if not impossible, to delineate explicitly what 
constitutes a "Christian" college or university. With the falling away 
of many of our accepted cultural forms (including institutional forms), 
we are placed under the necessity of exploring the possibilities given 
by the new situation and of finding our place within that context. 

In the modern university, with its conflict of ideologies and its 


variant claimants, Duke has accepted the responsibility of allowing 
the voice of religious study and investigation to be heard as an integral 
part of its program. This is no small achievement. For on many 
campuses "problem solving" has emerged in such a large way that 
reflection on mystery and meaning has been lost. Religion is not the 
only reflection upon the mystery and meaning of life, but it is one of 
the major ways in which these problems have been discussed and 
answered. And it remains a way which merits continued discussion 
and evaluation. In addition, the continuing role of religion in our cul- 
ture requires careful investigation, especially in the new cultural 
context. The study of religion is not antiquarian. It is, on the 
contrary, a crucially important aspect of our contemporary self- 

Our Protestant Heritage 

This leads to a further point which should be discussed. Since the 
department is concerned with the phenomenon of religion and its 
interpretation, it should not feel that any single religious commitment 
is necessary to achieve its goals. Duke has a Protestant heritage, 
indeed a Methodist heritage, and this is to be remembered, respected 
and enriched. But the very enrichment of this faith may well depend 
in part upon full intellectual conversation with scholars from other 
religious traditions. Could not an Eastern Orthodox or a Roman 
Catholic scholar contribute to our investigation ? Could not a Jewish 
scholar enlarge our vision of Western culture's religious inheritance? 
I think the answer to this is affirmative, and it is worthwhile to attempt 
to say why this is so. 

First of all, from the standpoint of the study of the phenomenon of 
religion itself, there is no intrinsic reason why any honest scholar can- 
not investigate the subject matter of religion. And it is narrow-minded 
to claim that the faith perspective, especially when this is not defined 
along denominational or sectarian lines, distorts the view which one 
has of the phenomena. The faith-commitment does, of course, make a 
difference in the way in which one looks at reality. We have certainly 
come far enough in our understanding of the intellectual enterprise to 
know that no man is able to separate his most basic convictions from 
his rational activity. But awareness of one's commitment, comparison 
of that commitment to other faith perspectives, and a critical scrutiny of 
one's own stance are also prerequisites of valid intellectual under- 
standing. Consequently, while the basic faith-orientation of the scholar 


is important and does set the framework within which reason works, 
faith also needs the correction and the criticism which rational investi- 
gation can provide. 

To have scholars in a department who do not share exactly one's 
own vantage point means that there should be an increased awareness 
by each of his own presuppositions through the encounter with dif- 
ferent perspectives. The highest service of God in any intellectual 
activity is to be concerned for truth ; we never do God honor even 
when we, in Job's words, "Tell lies in God's defense." The parochial- 
ism which can accrue from isolating one's self within one's peculiar 
form of the religious commitment is always detrimental. The enrich- 
ment of study which can come from shared common interests even by 
those who also differ is to be desired. If the ecumenical movement 
has not made any other contribution to contemporary theological 
activity, and there are others, it has taught us to recognize the richness 
of the fabric of the Christian faith. And this gain, reinforced by the 
discussions of Christian history and traditions whether held in common 
or separately, is one which should be transferred to and continued 
within the intellectual community of a university. 

There is also an advantage in such an arrangement for the student 
in the school. To be a participant in the scholarly investigations of 
these common and variant traditions, to listen to the discussion which 
takes place among the scholars, to be made aware of their own pre- 
suppositions and to have the enlargement of vision which might result, 
are all valuable additions to the spiritual and intellectual maturation of 
the student. 

Two final words need to be added to this discussion. First, what I 
have said is theoretical. Our faculty in the department is at present 
composed entirely of Protestants, though seven different denomina- 
tions are represented. But in principle the foregoing statement 
represents my own position in regard to possible future developments, 
and I personally would like to see this implemented. Second, because 
of Duke's heritage it also seems to me that it is a primary responsibility 
of the department to represent the best of Protestant scholarship and to 
have this responsibility stand at the center of its work. This is not 
said defensively nor apologetically. We do have a tradition, indeed, 
a significant tradition, to continue ; and our obligation to this tradition 
must be met. At the same time, our tradition is not static, and we 
must also meet our responsibility to enrich our heritage and thereby 
enhance the contribution we can make to our students. 

The Role of the Department 

Finally, let us turn to the distinctive role of the department of 
religion in the university. Often there is confusion over the divergent 
functions of the department of religion as one of the academic depart- 
ments in the university and the Divinity School with its responsibility 
for the training of ministers. There is, of course, the common 
phenomena which both investigate ; and there is the common scholarly 
responsibility which each must fulfill in this investigation. In addition, 
there is a convergence of the work of the two faculties in the M.A. 
and Ph.D. program. But there are also differences. The department 
is a part of the College of Arts and Sciences with an academic 
responsibility commensurate with the other departments for the 
instruction of students. This is not professional training nor can it be 
evangelistic in its import. The faculty of the department is involved 
in the general life of the undergraduate and graduate schools and must 
be judged by its scholarly participation and its responsible teaching in 
these areas. It is a false notion to think of the department as a divinity 
school within the general faculty ; rather there is a distinctive role it 
must play. 

In the spring of 1964 the department prepared a statement express- 
ing its own self-understanding in regard to its special role in the uni- 
versity. Because of the excellence of this statement and because it 
has not previously been publicly presented, I would like to utilize it 
to indicate the over-all philosophy of the department. 

Eruditio et Religio 

"A highly suggestive maxim on education declares : 'What is 
honored in the country will be cultivated there.' From its beginning 
Duke University has affirmed the integral relationship between the 
study of religion and liberal education, and in the honoring of each has 
cultivated the other. A distinctive aspect of the philosophy of under- 
graduate education at Duke is the conviction that the study of religion 
is not only integral to, but is an indispensable part of, humane learning. 
This understanding is reflected in the opportunity afforded all students 
of Trinity College and the Women's College to pursue at least one full 
year of serious study of religion in the normal degree program. Each 
student is encouraged through the curricular structure to explore in a 
lively and critical way the assumption suggested by the Duke motto, 
that erudition and religion are mutually illuminating. 


Religion, A Humanities Field 

"Duke University reflects in its own life and structures the historic 
continuities and the dynamic changes of our national existence; it 
also exhibits the tensions intrinsic to change in the context of historic 
continuity. In this particular situation the academic concern with 
religion must not be sectarian in aim or spirit. The Department of 
Religion at Duke understands itself, therefore, like other departments 
of the college, as simply engaged in humane learning; it pursues the 
study of religion and the practice of it, but we are concerned that these 
not be confused. The integrity of either in the university depends upon 
sustaining the particularity of each. We are concerned that both the 
relationship and the distinction be understood. Confusion at this point 
has contributed to developments in American higher education that 
have driven the study of religion from the curriculum of many univer- 
sities, and the practice of it to the periphery of academic life. While 
recognizing the relationship between the study and practice of religion, 
we intend to clarify the distinction between them ; and we intend to do 
this through a program that exhibits at the same time the essential role 
of religion in any curriculum claiming adequately to foster humane 

"Hence the program of instruction is organized around historical, 
critical, philosophical, and phenomenological methods of study and 
investigation. The particular method in a given instance is determined, 
as in any other humanities field, by the nature of the subject matter 
itself, the personality and training and proclivities of the teacher, and 
the learning situation of the student. The study of religion is thought 
of as intellectual history, in which the professor attempts to exhibit 
through his sources certain expressions of man's inner life and some 
of his deepest experiences. The teacher of religion tries to make 
intelligible to the present something that has been meaningful in our 
past. He intends to show with imagination and sensitivity how a 
particular vision of life or system of thought looks from the inside, 
and in this process to open up for himself and his students new 
dimensions of possibility for the understanding of reality. The 
emphasis is therefore upon a continuing creative apprehension of the 
past, as this re-lived past addresses itself to the present and anticipates 
the future. 

The Unique Role of Religion 

"The Department of Religion recognizes that all the humanities in 
the curriculum deal in greater or lesser degree with religious 


questions ; that any study of history or literature or art or philosophy, 
for example, engages the religious dimension. Yet the study of religion 
is not history, not philosophy, not literature as such, however inti- 
mately and necessarily all these are bound up together. The unique- 
ness of religion amongst the humanities lies not so much in its methods 
and aims as in its subject matter. The particular subject matter that 
has inspired the ideological expectations of the Western mind is a 
complex of assumptions and insights that might loosely be called 
"biblical understanding." No other literature of the Western world 
has influenced so decisively the affairs of men. At the heart of the 
study of religion is the attempt to discover and clarify, to examine 
critically, and to extend and elaborate that whole complex of assump- 
tions and insights found in the Bible. No other humanities study has 
precisely this unique subject matter at its center. It is crucial therefore 
that the study of religion be carried on as an independent enterprise 
alongside other humanities studies in a department that reflects its own 
autonomy and academic integrity. While keeping all this in mind, our 
department is nevertheless eager to emphasize the interrelationships of 
all humanities studies ; it actively seeks to encourage interdisciplinary 
approaches to all problems. (Hence majors in other humanities fields 
such as history or English or philosophy or art find many of the 
elective courses in religion a fruitful complement to their major 

The Human Dimension in Liberal Education 

"The Department of Religion is committed to the view that the 
most adequate undergraduate liberal education moves finally on some 
irreducibly human level. We recognize that all of university life 
depends upon the quality of the people participating in it; that the 
character of a given university is dependent upon the kind of persons 
it can attract and hold. Commitment to learning, like all other commit- 
ments, is a form of love ; and what men love in the last analysis is not 
so much ideals as persons. Hence, while we are concerned as a faculty 
to be understood as scholar/teachers, we are aware of that elemental 
dimension of the teaching and learning process which keenly involves 
human personality. This means that the academic enterprise must 
always be sensitive toward the personal history of students. This is 
particularly so in the field of religion, where cultural sensibilities tend 
to suggest deeply personal involvement. Although the teacher of 


religion does not aim to lead students into any particular religious 
faith, he must be aware of the possible implications of classroom study 
for personal religious illumination or disillusionment. Although his 
task is not that of arresting the spread of moral relativism, or directing 
the student's will or protecting his religious faith, the teacher of 
religion must be prepared for the student's seeing him in some such 
role. Such student expectations oblige him to be peculiarly conscious 
of the elusive but often decisive interpersonal levels of the educational 
process. Furthermore, the learning situation of the student often casts 
the professor in the role of an apologist for the religious system under 
study. While the teacher must reject this role, he nevertheless must be 
sensitive to the cultural forces that tend so to cast him ; and he must 
be responsive to the implications of all this in his relationships to 
students. He must make it clear that he is not concerned to do in the 
university what the Church attempts to do in society at large ; yet he 
must be open to the possibility that the study of religion can result in 
the enlargement of men's lives, and that this potentiality imposes upon 
him some extra measure of personal responsibility for his students." 

Religion on a State College 

Maurice Ritchie, '62 
Director, Wesley Foundation, Appalachian State Teachers College 

This article does not pretend to speak for religion on a representa- 
tive state college campus. It speaks by and large of religion on the 
campus of Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone, North Caro- 
lina. If the article has any validity for other campuses, it is because 
this campus represents some of the achievements and failures of 
similar ones around the country, particularly in the South. 

Religion on this campus expresses itself structurally, from the side 
of the College, in much the same way as any campus club. The 
Religious Council is a group of representatives from the several 
religious communions in the town of Boone as well as the Young 
Women's and Young Men's Christian Association, the Fellowship 
of Christian Athletes and others. The Council functions in much the 
same way as any other campus club. It meets regularly to plan its 
(religious) activities, sponsors parties for its members, elects officers, 
etc. Its budget is underwritten partially by the College and in part by 
the denominational organizations such as the Newman Club, Baptist 
Student Union and Wesley Foundation. 

But the Religious Council, or Student Christian Association, is 
simply the united front organization which plans and executes the oc- 
casional forays into campus life, such as Religious Emphasis Week. 
From day to day religion on the campus is best reflected by the 
denominational programs sponsored by the various churches. 

Although state colleges have been relatively generous in making 
their facilities available to the denominations, very few state-supported 
schools will permit churches to be housed directly on the campus itself. 
Therefore the churches have purchased land and built their denomina- 
tional centers as close as possible to the campus, a necessity which has 
located most religious activity in the centers off the campus. 

As a result the ideal for campus ministry which has developed is 
that of a young, full-time minister with offices located as near the 
campus as possible. This is the bare minimum. Beyond this are vary- 


ing degrees of facilities, ranging from small houses for use by students 
during the day and evening, to elaborate structures with libraries, TV 
lounges, music rooms, small seminar rooms, chapels and fellowship 

These off -campus denominational centers have developed programs 
centered, in the main, around their facilities or 'houses'. There are 
study groups, discussions, forums, recreation, coffee houses and any 
number of other activities related to these facilities in which the 
churches have made large investments. 

The result of this approach to the campus ministry has often been 
captivity to a specific sanctuary, namely the denominational house. 
Not only does the house or center 'contain' all the activity sponsored 
by the denomination, it also contains the campus chaplains. It is a rare 
occurrence that a campus minister is able to emerge from his 'student 
house' to spend any more than a coffee hour or so on the campus with 
the students. Chances are that his program is so highly developed 
around the house for which he is responsible to his denomination that 
he cannot break out of it. This is not so much his personal failure 
as the limitations within which he must work. The state limits his 
activity on the campus, or at least the facilities at his disposal there, 
and the church has yet to provide the funds for an adequate staff 
which might free him for extended periods of time on the campus 
during the day and evening. 

The off-campus location of the denominational center and the 
identification of religious activity with the building itself carry a 
certain stigma of irrelevance, or being out of touch. The church, in 
the mind of the student, is over there on the edge of the campus. It is 
not indigenous, it is not a group of students giving witness to their 
ultimate commitment in the center of the campus and seeking to call 
other students to the same task in the thick of campus life. It is their 
ultimate commitment expressed off the campus, over there on the 
edge of campus life, calling students to a mission away from the 
campus and not one at the heart of its own life. This off-campus 
location imposes on the campus minister and student council a special 
burden to remind students constantly that their commitment is to be 
lived out in the classroom, the dorm and student 'dives' wherever they 
are, and not just in the campus cloister, whether it be the wing of a 
denominational church adjacent to the campus, or the confines of their 
own denominational house. 

Frequently campus ministers and their sponsoring agencies have 


failed to recognize sufficiently the limitations of this off -campus status. 
Denominational authorities have submitted to a kind of co-existence 
with the university or college. The state grants a limited amount of 
freedom to actively solicit denominational loyalty from the students on 
the campus. In turn the denomination restricts its intervention in 
campus life. It supports student morality, roundly condemns cheating, 
theft, drinking and other infractions of the moral code, while it 
provides a specialized cultic life, some recreational opportunity and 
personal counseling for the students off the campus. Thus the college 
bolsters denominational introversion while the denomination supports 
student discipline. 

It is this co-existence which has resulted in the ecclesiastical intro- 
version of campus ministries. The church has been permitted to work 
with individual students off campus, to build good programs for the 
students who come to them, but — understandably enough — it has not 
been actively encouraged to concern itself too directly with campus 
affairs such as student honor systems, sub-standard student housing 
conditions off campus, or immoral administrative practices within the 
college or university itself. 

Also contributing to denominational introversion in the campus 
ministry has been the seemingly devastating pragmatism of the 
sponsoring agencies. The churches are interested in a return on their 
invested dollar on the campus, and the way they measure this invest- 
ment is the ability of campus ministers to develop 'strong' programs, 
'strong' here meaning numerical support of the activities scheduled by 
the campus ministers. If there is no steady stream of students through 
the denominational center week by week, then the ideas of the campus 
minister must be "too far out" for the students, or he is "too critical of 
the institutional church," or lacking in industriousness. 

If the campus ministry is failing in a number of places — and of 
course there are many who, for a variety of reasons, say that it is — it is 
failing because of this narrowly defined, introverted role of the 
ministries. The denominations have provided, so it would appear, 
programs which in fact are more interested in serving the denomina- 
tions than the campus (students). But students are not interested 
in perpetuating the church as an institution because very few of them 
are profoundly convinced that the church is that important as an 

Campus ministers are becoming increasingly convinced that they 
and their sponsoring agencies have called students to the church and 


then simply rejoiced because they were there, or what is more often 
the case, wept because they did not come, despite the carefully planned 
recreation, entertainment, worship and discussions. More and more 
they (the ministers) are raising the question: What is the uniquely 
Christian or even very ordinary ministry (service) which we can 
render the students which is not being carried out elsewhere on 
campus? or How can we break out of our captivity to Zion (denomina- 
tional structures) to go outside the gate and 'die' with our Lord 
(Hebrews 13:12, 13)? 

This turn in the campus ministry marks the death of the old role 
of religion on the state campus. The old approach is dying because 
there are so many activities available to students and competing for 
their loyalty that it cannot hold its own. The campus ministry must 
begin putting itself in a better position to serve students in depth, to 
take them seriously, to listen to their concerns and questions with 
utter seriousness, to place its facilities and funds at their disposal. 
The only way we in the campus ministry can accomplish this is by 
going where the students are, on the campus. This is no easy thing, 
neither is it impossible. The most difficult part will be the change in 
the church's vocabulary ; we shall have to learn all over again that the 
church was made for man, not man for the church. We shall no longer 
call students to ourselves ; we shall go to them with the "bare an- 
nouncement of God's love" (see Stringfellow quotation below). 

If the old approach to the campus ministry, with its call to students 
to come unto itself, is dying, the new shape of ministry (service, 
servanthood) will be to find ground on the campus for the church to 
work in, i.e. to find areas of common concern between the college and 
the campus ministry. The goals of the church and those of the 
academic world are not the same, but there are areas of concern, 
aspects of their natures, which do not conflict but complement each 

One such area is the academic endeavor itself. Unfortunately the 
church has not always been as appreciative of academic endeavor as it 
should be. Because it has looked upon the academic world as a threat 
to evangelical piety, it has failed to see in the earnest search for truth a 
powerful vehicle for the work of the Spirit. If Christians truly believe 
in the depths that the God who brought His people out of Egypt and 
established a New Covenant with them is the Lord of all truth, then 
there are indeed common areas of concern between the Bride of Christ 
and real scholarship. Insofar as real learning represents honest 


engagement of the student with the traditions and discoveries of the 
world he has been given in his birth, it offers a real channel for the 
work of the Spirit. 

The lectern and seminar can serve the church in invaluable ways, 
not least of all in fostering what Peter Berger has called the experience 
of alternation (cf. The Precarious Vision, Doubleday, pp. 8-22). 
Through his study of various cultures and societies the student is 
brought nose to nose with the precarious nature of his own social 
existence. He acquires a new perspective on society, one which differs 
radically from the one he had previously taken for granted. Whereas 
he formerly identified his existence with the apparently iron-clad 
customs and mores of his society, he now 'locates' himself within a 
particular social and cultural context, perceiving that his way of life is 
only one of many possibilities in the world. The creative possibility of 
this experience lies in the perception of life in all its precariousness, 
freeing the individual from complete identification with his social 
origins and roles. The person, be he student or other, is revealed to 
himself as he is; he is separated from his role, and the society in 
which he lives is stripped of any ultimate significance with which the 
community or the person himself might have endowed it. The experi- 
ence of alternation therefore, though it preaches no 'good news', 
is capable of destroying false gods in a very real sense. 

One dare not romanticize the university simply because it has this 
great potential. Too frequently it has failed to establish conditions 
conducive to the experience of 'alternation' and dwelt instead on im- 
parting 'practical' knowledge, i.e. teaching certain job skills or dispens- 
ing facts which students are expected to carry directly from the class- 
room into their future vocations or 'real-life, practical' situations. 

Where genuine intellectual curiosity and love of learning already 
exist on a campus, it is much easier to engage in Christian apologetics 
and Christian nurture, else one must first blast through a wall of 
ignorance and indifference before he can say anything at all to the 
student. For example, if a minister wished to acquaint students with 
Soren Kierkegaard on more than a superficial level, it is much simpler 
when Kierkegaard's work is already vaguely familiar to students. 

Of course there will be many areas of deep concern on the campus 
with which a campus ministry cannot be extensively involved. And 
there are areas of concern too with which a campus ministry wishes 
to deal that are of lesser interest on the campus. For instance vital 


contemporary issues are not as widely treated on this campus as the 
campus minister would wish. 

The Wesley Foundation at ASTC has attempted on a modest scale 
to find some common areas of concern with the campus. It has 
directed its attention mainly to the integrity of student life, a matter 
which should demand much more attention from the College adminis- 
tration than it is presently receiving. 

The students at the Wesley Foundation (and Baptist Student 
Union, for the program was a co-operative endeavor) listed several 
student problems. They settled on three for special attention : tensions 
in becoming and remaining an effective teacher, latent homosexuality 
or the problem of the 'different' student, and the racial crisis. Three 
so-called 'secular' films were selected which dealt in some way with 
the three areas of concern. A large lecture room in the science build- 
ing on campus offered an acceptable screen and sound system, and a 
competent instructor or professor was chosen to lead a discussion on 
each film immediately following its presentation. The discussion was 
desired to assist the students in raising questions pertinent to the 
concern at hand, but there was no feeling that this was the most 
important part of the evening. The response to the films was highly 
gratifying. Students reported informal discussions in the dorms with 
their roommates, and in at least one instance an instructor devoted his 
class hour to a detailed discussion of one of the films. 

The goal with this project was simply to aid students in raising 
questions about their lives: namely the questions of their attitudes 
toward their professors, toward their fellow students, and toward those 
of other races. There was no attempt to evangelize ; no one felt 
compelled to preach. In fact it was made clear to discussion leaders 
that they had been chosen because of their competence in their fields 
and their ability to communicate with students, and that no Christian 
moral was to be extracted from the film. 

With each film the number of students responding to the programs 
increased, so much so that they had to be moved to larger facilities. 
There appeared to be genuine appreciation from students for the 
programs, and significantly enough some asked : Why does a Christian 
organization sponsor programs like this? The answer of course was 
no sermon either in the traditional sense : The Wesley Foundation 
simply wants to help you think a little more clearly about some things 
which may bother you. 

Active participants in the Wesley Foundation have spoken again 


and again of this film series, for they have found in it a significance 
which they have missed in other areas of our center program. They 
believe that we went to the student, into the very center of his life, and 
there did what we felt he needed. There was no propaganda, no 
ulterior motive, only the question : Could it be that we could be helpful 
to our fellow students in this way ? 

Another manner in which campus ministries can get on campuses 
in a significant way is that of involvement in student political issues. 
There is little to be said for involvement simply for the sake of involve- 
ment, but on every campus, from time to time, the student body has 
opportunity to raise its voice in the government of its own life. Such 
an occasion came last year at Appalachian when the college adminis- 
tration presented to the student body an honor system for its ac- 
ceptance or refusal. 

The Wesley Foundation decided that it should give this election 
serious discussion. As the time for balloting drew near, it became 
increasingly evident that the system proposed by the Administration 
would be overwhelmingly defeated primarily, it appeared, because of 
the way it had been presented to the student government. Concern 
over this issue increased and the student council of the Wesley 
Foundation initiated a write-in campaign. This was a concerted effort 
through posters and mimeographed sheets to get students to write on 
their ballots : "I am against this system, but for an honor system." If 
this were effective, so the council felt, it would leave the door open 
for work on an improved system. Otherwise the Administration might 
interpret the overwhelming defeat of their system as student body 
rejection of any honor system whatever. The campaign failed, but it 
was helpful for the Wesley Foundation itself because it opened an 
entirely new area of involvement for it in campus life. 

A more traditional way of getting the campus ministry back on the 
campus, and one a little more familiar and acceptable to many church 
people, is through responsible students themselves. This means that 
mature Christian students seriously evaluate where their presence is 
most needed : in the campus Christian center or on the newspaper staff, 
within student government or perhaps dormitory supervision ('junior 
counselors'). The students may choose to spend more of their time 
on campus, curtailing seriously their activity in the church. This is 
sometimes hard to take, for the campus Christian center or Wesley 
Foundation may be in dire need of that person's leadership. But if we 
in the campus ministry are going to take seriously the calling of 


responsible students to Christian ministry on the campus, we must be 
willing to accept these decisions to make their witness elsewhere. 

These illustrations are intended only to be suggestive of ways in 
which campus Christian organizations can become involved more 
directly and concretely in the life of the campus and ministry to it. 
Leaders of the Appalachian Wesley Foundation are coming more and 
more to brieve that if the theological education which is attempted in 
their community is to have any meaning at all, it must be carried out 
in the context of active engagement with the life of the students. If 
theology is indeed articulated Christian experience, then this will have 
to be the case before it will have meaning for the campus. 

Beyond this the student council is asking how it can put its 
facilities at the disposal of the students at large. This is already a 
common practice in many campus ministries, evident from the number 
of coffee houses and drama groups now being sponsored by campus 
ministries around the country. Presently the ministry here is actively 
inquiring among certain segments of the student body concerning their 
interests and whether there is any way in which its resources can be 
put at their disposal. 

This approach to the campus ministry is active involvement in 
campus life. In all these efforts there has been active faculty support 
on a small scale and widespread faculty appreciation for them. (In 
fact some of the most enthusiastic faculty support has come from men 
with no ties whatever to the institutional church.) It is sad but true 
that faculty appreciation for this campus involvement has often been 
greater than that of the students. 

These turns toward the campus have not meant a suspension of 
the program within the Methodist Student Center itself; this has 
continued at a strong pace. But students are becoming increasingly 
convinced that this is not enough, that although the attempt is made 
to relate everything to campus life, the building itself must not be a 
fortress to escape the campus but a way-station to serve it. 

This concept of ministry has been stated much better in other 
places. Currently leaders in the Student Christian Movement (SCM) 
are speaking of it in terms of 'presence'. The task of the Christian in 
today's world is to be 'present' to mankind, to be 'with' men in their 
joy and sorrow, their exultation and suffering. The concept connotes 
identification with and compassion for men in their stations in life. It 
has been presented effectively in a number of places, but William 


Stringfellow has caught it quite well in his book Free in Obedience 
(Seabury, 1964). 

Gimmicks, says Stringfellow, may be acceptable for ministry in 
some instances, but their effectiveness apart from close personal 
Christian involvement in concrete situations is questionable. In the 
mission to the city Stringfellow suggests this approach : 

... I think, I would go out to scour the land to find perhaps five hundred 
Christians — men and women, clergy and laity — to commission and send 
into the city. When I had found and called these missionaries I would tell 
them that they were to go, probably in pairs, into the city and just live on 
whatever means of survival prevailed in the block or neighborhood to 
which they were sent; they would have to live, in so far as possible, as 
those to whom they were sent. I would instruct them that upon their 
arrival they should do only one thing : knock on every door. Most doors 
would not be opened, at least not readily. But when a door opened the 
missionaries would say : ''We have come to be with you because God cares 
for your life, and, because God cares for your life, we also care for you." 
Period. There would be nothing more — no invitations to join the Church, 
no programs to offer people or their kids, no rummage to give away, no 
concealed motives, and no hidden agendas. There would be just the bare 
announcement of God's love and the freedom which that love gives people 
to love each other, (pp. 41-42) 

Stringfellow speaks of this witness as the quiet or even secret 
witness, "an event unknown except to those who are themselves 
involved in the situation" (p. 43). It becomes public when the 
Christian people gather openly and publicly as a society to offer God 
"their involvements jointly and severally in the world's existence" (p. 

Getting students on the campus to accept the campus itself as their 
own personal place of witness and responsibility will not be easy. 
Students have very limited experience in assuming responsibility for 
anything when they first hit the campus. They have been catered to 
by local churches to the point of feeling that the responsibility for 
ministry lies squarely on the shoulders of professionally trained per- 
sons and no one else. Somehow they will have to be re-educated so 
that they will perceive that the ministry to the campus belongs to 
them and can belong nowhere else, or as Stringfellow says, that "the 
witness of the Christian in a place is his very presence in that place" 
(p. 43), not necessarily the presence of some professionally trained 

No doubt there are some who will see this movement toward the 


campus and away from denominational fortresses as a movement 
away from the Church, away from real Christian ministry and toward 
a kind of 'secular' gospel. So be it! One of the church's great 
struggles in this age is that of rediscovering the Holy Spirit, and 
hopefully in rediscovering Him our vision will be somewhat enlarged. 
Many conscientious Christians are dejected when they see the Spirit 
working on the other side of the walls of Zion. Somehow He is not 
supposed to be over there, only inside Zion. There may be many who 
are still naive enough to believe that what is needed is a bolstering of 
the old approaches and structures, a little more energy applied here, a 
little more money there and certainly a stronger voice against the 
horrid vices of the degenerate campus. Well, these have all been tried 
at one time or another in almost every campus situation, and the only 
consistent result has been failure to build a stronger ministry. 

One need only speak with student and faculty leaders in campus 
Christian work, as I have done in recent weeks, to see the virtually 
complete failure of the old approach. The conviction is widespread 
that presently religion is having little if any impact whatever on the 
campus at large. A hopelessness of reaching the 'mass' of students 
with anything more than a 'religion for the sake of religion' pervades 
the campus. Religious Councils or Student Christian Associations 
search their minds and lists of personnel resources annually for topics 
and speakers which will 'break through' the apparently inpenetrable 
wall of student indifference towards the church. 

The great temptation of man is always to think that there is a 
gimmick somewhere which he has failed to employ, and that this must 
account for his failure. None of us wants to admit that we are the 
failure, our perverted self-worship, our pre-occupation with ourselves, 
our absolute unwillingness to risk all for the sake of the Gospel, our 
inability to believe very deeply that in losing ourselves we really find 

If indeed there is a turn toward the campus, as this brief article 
has contended, perhaps it is because the church is discovering that 
she has not understood her nature and role on the campus correctly. 
Perhaps she is perceiving that her courtship with the fleshpots of 
Egypt was unfaithfulness to her loving and faithful Groom. Hope- 
fully she is seeing the end of her captivity to Zion and indeed inching 
outside the gate, even if this be sometimes with great anxiety and 

Chapel Meditation 

To Have and Have Not 

What does it mean to say that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Saviour 
of my life? Without attempting to exhaust all the dimensions of the 
question, it seems to me that essentially it is to say that in Jesus Christ 
I find the moment, meaning and direction of my day to day life. Char- 
acteristic of this daily life is a shifting quality, an aimless and ground- 
less thrust. It is like a journey in the desert sands ; the pathways of 
previous travelers and, indeed, our own fresh-made tracks, are con- 
stantly eradicated by the ever-shifting sands. Even the very topography 
of life itself is as fluid as the shifting sand dunes ; hills appear where 
only moments before valleys rested. And into this shifting maze the 
life, death, resurrection and continuing reign in glory of a Galilean 
carpenter drives a stabilizing coordinate system upon which our daily 
lives may move freely without fear of becoming lost and perishing. 
Jesus Christ is the firm foundation. He is a lens focusing the brilliant 
light of truth, illuminating the darkened and confusing morass of 
minutiae of which ordinary living is composed, revealing the purpose 
and direction of life. And I, a senior in this Divinity School, have the 
privilege of being a special messenger bearing this good news, this 
saving knowledge — a minister of the Gospel witnessing to the power 
of this Incarnate Word in the lives of men. 

But I confess to you that I'm afraid. I'm running scared. Too 
often I find myself grasping for this firm foundation as the weaving 
and entangling patterns of daily life erode my little corner of the rock. 
My sextant gets out of focus, and I wander, aimlessly seeking that 
direction and meaning which was once so sure. More often than not 
I am a minister of the Gospel — seeking that Gospel. And eventually, 
yet inevitably, I am led back to this firm foundation, to this Word of 
God, by the good offices of the brotherhood in which I participate. In 
the common seeking of the brotherhood of believing unbelievers 
direction is regained and life reoriented to meaning. I am a minister 
of the Gospel — seeking the Gospel — in the company of fellow seekers. 

And it seems to me that he who has the Gospel, is precisely he who 
recognizes that he has not the Gospel. He who seeks the Gospel both 
has and has not that Gospel, and in having and yet not having, truly 


has it. And here is the authentic movement of the Christian life — a 
reverberation of disconsonant motions harmonizing in an awareness 
that daily life is not merely a spasmodic series of chance happenings, 
but is caught up in an over-arching providence, an ultimate A-OKness, 
a fundamental soundness. And without this discordant note of doubt 
and fear the harmony is so sweet that a false security is substituted for 
the fundamental soundness. 

So I'm afraid, running scared in the face of a ministry in which I 
am proclaiming something that I simply cannot nail down and hang 
my ecclesiastical collar upon. But perhaps my experience is valid. 
Without this stress of constantly not having that which I have, my 
faith would become meaningless and powerless. If I snuggle up too 
securely in the affirmations of my church I suffocate. Only as I am 
repeatedly driven forth from the womb of the Mother Church into 
the devastating encounter with the possibility that this ridiculous little 
story that I tell is a lot of tommyrot — and then, just as forcefully, 
drawn back into the only ground upon which my life really thrives, 
does my faith remain vital. Only as often as I attempt to reject Jesus 
Christ, and thereby find him anew, is the undergirding source vitalized. 

And so, integral to the affirmation of Jesus Christ as Lord and 
Saviour of my life is the ringing discordance of disbelief. Without this 
discordant overtone woven into my witness the sound is indeed too 
sweet. The scheme falls too neatly into place. It becomes an artificial 
overlay forced onto the unyielding reality of life. 

Therefore, I am lodged between fear and hope. Praise God for the 
fear as well as the hope. Praise God for the sensitivity drawn forth by 
fear, that it may ever illuminate the hope. In fear I plumb the depths of 
life and explore every cranny. In hope I soar to the heights of life and 
map out the whole expanse. In fear and in hope I acknowledge Jesus 
Christ to be Lord and Saviour of my life. AMEN. 
March 25, 1965 —Hubert T. Davis, '65 


daniel m. schores, jr., Assistant Professor of Church and Society 
and Associate Director of Field Education : 

This autobiographical note is approached with mixed feelings of 
humility and pride. Let's trust that they remain in proper perspective. 

Two themes dominate as one analyzes those influences which have 
contributed toward the shaping of my life. The first is that of 
"tension." A series of contrasts — the "yin" and "yang" energy-modes 
of Chinese philosophy — continually offer themselves as alternatives 
from which to choose. Some of these have been : reason vs. faith (as 
symbolized in the choice between a scientific career or the ministry), 
my urban childhood vs. a dedication to the rural ministry, idealism vs. 
pragmatism (e.g., pacifism as contrasted with stereotyped patriotism 
or faith vs. sociological reality), enjoyment of material pleasure vs. 
a commitment to "things of the spirit," the parish ministry vs. a teach- 
ing position, the "ought" as opposed to the "as is" in personal ethics. 
By attempting to maintain a careful balance between these tensions — 
I have long since given up their final resolution — there has come both 
emotional and intellectual stimulation. Whatever human insight I may 
have in the struggles others face has come from the struggles first 
faced by myself. 

The second dominant theme is that of the province of God. Even 
prior to any sense of ministerial calling, it appeared that God was 
giving purposeful direction to my life by opening new opportunities or 
blocking self-chosen goals. Later experience has reinforced this sense 
of providential care. When least expected a new avenue of service 
might arise. When personal plans seemed defeated, a superior path has 
appeared. To be able to enter these unexpected "open doors" one 
must remain flexible yet committed to an overall vocation. Such a self- 
surrender of one's will has not always come easily. A layman of a 
church once served provided me with the Biblical text which has since 
been my lodestar: "My times are in thy hands." (Psalm 31 :15) Hymn 
322 in The Methodist Hymnal expresses this philosophy in verse. 

The facts of my life can be briefly stated. Born and raised in 
suburban St. Louis, Missouri, I "accidently" became a Methodist as 
that was the closest church. Our family was actively religious. Fol- 


lowing high school I entered Washington University in St. Louis to 
pursue my long chosen career of chemical engineering, only to have a 
period of soul-searching disrupt plans after two years and turn me 
toward the Christian ministry. Undergraduate studies were thus 
completed at Central Methodist College, Fayette, Missouri, with the 
strange combination of a major in religion and a minor in math. Sum- 
mer chaplaincy at a Boy Scout camp, weekend preaching and a small 
student charge were the first feeble attempts at professional service. 

The love, companionship and understanding of Marie Sessler of St. 
Louis has been enjoyed since our marriage in 1950. Since then four 
sons and a daughter (plus numerous pets) have joined the Schores 
family. It was also in 1950 that I entered Duke Divinity School. A 
challenging pastorate while in Duke encouraged me toward the town 
and country ministry, though overseas or inner city mission work was 
prayerfully considered. Returning to my home conference in Missouri, 
I then served two Ozark charges (1953-1959). Opportunities to 
organize and work in two Group Ministries, plus numerous conference 
committees, prepared me for the God-given (though Bishop- 
appointed) task of Town and Country Director for Missouri 
Methodism (1959-1965), during which time gracious permission was 
granted to further my graduate work in sociology — a field of consider- 
able interest but one in which I lacked any college courses. On a part- 
time student basis at the University of Missouri a Master of Science in 
rural sociology and the Ph.D. in sociology were earned, much thanks to 
a long-suffering family. Considerable ribbing accompanied the an- 
nouncement of a vacation locale for my dissertation study, "Osage 
Beach : Social Stratification in a Resort Community." 

Some have asked, "Why do you wish to teach ?" No doubt for the 
same reason I have tried most everything else in life — a strong convic- 
tion that God has willed it. Working with people is both a pleasure 
and a challenge. I agree with Daniel Webster : 

If we work on marble, it will perish. If we work on brass, time will 
efface it. If we rear temples, time will crumble them into dust. But if we 
work on immortal minds; if we imbue them with principles, with the just 
fear of God and love of our fellow men, we engrave on those tablets some- 
thing which will brighten all eternity. 

The invitation to teach at Duke Divinity School and help direct the 
Field Education program was a pleasant surprise as well as an in- 
vigorating challenge. I trust that time will prove me capable of enter- 
ing successfully this newest door of opportunity. 


Preaching to be Understood. James T. Cleland. Abingdon. 1965. 126 pp. $2.75. 

This is a delightful little book, in format, print, style and content, thoroughly 
characteristic of the meticulous artist of articulation who is its author, the Dean 
of the Chapel of Duke University and James B. Duke Professor of Preaching in 
the Divinity School. The five chapters in the book represent his mature rework- 
ing of ideas and emphases that have typified Cleland's theory of preaching for a 
long time, and his students of many years will receive them with the grateful 
acknowledgment of the values that have passed from him to them — sometimes 
even unnoticed 

The occasion for this publication was the singular honor that befell this 
Scotsman in diaspora when he was invited by the Church of Scotland's Com- 
mittee on Education for the Ministry to deliver the Warrack Lectures on 
Preaching for 1964. The five lectures reflect the Dean's feelings about the 
invitation : He is obviously happy to be in the Scottish Presbyterian setting, 
for here he can give full expression to some emphases that are only partially 
understood in his American context. On the other hand, he is clearly conscious 
of having moved beyond the perspectives of his mother church, and he is 
careful that these developments be understood before they may be criticized. In 
the tension of these two motifs, Cleland has produced a book which is at the same 
time true to his natural self and expressive of his most thorough reflection on 
the commitments he has made — and in the marriage of this naturalness and 
thoroughness lies the secret to any good piece of writing. 

Cleland's first concern is to clarify what he calls the homiletical "point of 
reference," namely the understanding of the Word of God in its relation to the 
words of the Scriptures, Old and New Testament alike. He follows the con- 
temporary practice of demythologizing the 'Word' of God into the 'action' of 
God, and defines, consequently, the Word of God as "the activity of the living 
personal Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer made known in the Bible, in the 
Spirit, and in the tradition of the church" (p. 32). Preaching, however, is not 
only in need of one point of reference ; it must have two. The sermon is 
oriented 'bifocally' around the Good News of God's redemptive activity and the 
contemporary situation of the people who listen. Preaching only becomes the 
Word of God when the concerns for truth and relevance are held together. This 
bifocality, says Cleland, is the "homiletical corollary of the doctrine of the 
Incarnation" (p. 57). 

To secure the two foci of his bifocality, Cleland gives two lectures to the 
closer explication of the dangers and the possibilities involved. The common 
heresies are on the one hand, 'eisegesis' (reading into a text what is not really 
there) and, on the other hand, aimlessness ('drawing a bow at a venture', or, as 
Cleland describes it, "aiming at nothing, and hitting that nothing right on the 
nose"). To offset the heresy of eisegesis, Qeland delineates the proper ap- 
proach to Scriptural exposition in terms of 'investigation', 'interpretation', and 
'application', and to avoid the danger of aimlessness he sets forth once again the 
true craftsmanship of purposeful preaching as he has developed it over the 
years. In a last chapter, he draws the hearer into the picture by emphasizing 
that communication is a twofold task : there is a 'pitcher' and a 'catcher' work- 
ing together as a 'homiletical battery'. Cleland relates various examples of how 
they are known to work together. One will find his book to be rich in 'pertinent' 
(a good Clelandian word) illustrations and practicable suggestions. 


Cleland confesses in his forword, that having delivered the Warrack Lectures, 
he feels almost ready to say his nunc dimittis. That may be an honest feeling, 
but we shall hope to God that the dismissal is a good while off yet. No one is 
eager to see the voice of this teacher of preachers silenced, for because of him 
many, in the pew and in the pulpit, have had the urge to say their bonum est. 

— Thor Hall 

Christianity Amid Rising Men and Nations. Edited by Creighton Lacy. As- 
sociation Press. 1965. 181 pp. $3.95. 

The peoples of the underdeveloped world— what the editor of this remarkable 
symposium calls "rising men and nations" — are searching eagerly for both 
freedom and bread, both national independence and adequate food, shelter, 
clothing, health conditions, educational facilities, and economic oportunities. The 
result, in an age of unprecedented scientific advance and technological achieve- 
ment, as well as of acute international and interracial tensions, is history-making 
revolution, all around the earth. 

For several decades new books on this epochal social change have poured 
from the printing presses, but the number of scholarly writings on the subject 
from a Christian perspective are comparatively few. Therefore, these nine papers 
written for a conference sponsored by the Divinity School of Duke University 
and the Ford Foundation are especially valuable. Here for four days an inter- 
disciplinary group of more than one hundred wrestled with vital issues ; not only 
professional churchmen but also representatives of many different fields of study 
and activity and varied denominational backgrounds participated in the discus- 
sions. The central aim was to see more clearly "the relevance and significance of 
Christianity in the midst of social revolution." The resultant volume of addresses 
by distinguished young specialists (only one over fifty years of age) is certain 
to command respect in academic and religious circles while at the same time 
it will provoke interesting differences of opinion and fruitful discussions. 

(1) The opening chapter in the symposium is the only one prepared by a 
Britisher, Roman Catholic, and woman : the famous writer on economics and 
international affairs, Barbara Ward (Lady Jackson). "Am I My Brother's 
Keeper?" she asks and in answer paints a large canvas with bold strokes and 
rich color. Christianity indeed has something to say because it is inherently a 
"rebel religion" and humanitarian religion with roots in prophetic Judaism and 
the dynamic New Testament faith, linked to the creative energies of Western 
thought and history. The author minimizes Oriental sources of Christianity and 
exaggerates the conservative and fatalistic elements in Eastern civilizations as 
reasons for their slow development up to modern times. We should also remem- 
ber the great epochs of past history and the scientific and benevolent features 
of non- Christian cultures that are being revived today. (Read Creighton Lacy's 
new book, The Conscience of India.) 

Barbara Ward in on firm ground when she delineates three great facts of our 
day : the fundamental unity of mankind, actual and potential ; the abundance of 
physical resources available alongside the wide gap between rich and poor nations 
which must be bridged (one of the author's favorite themes) ; and the inevitable 
trend toward urbanization and its evils, pictured in alarming terms. The need 
for improved rural life and increased agricultural production is hardly touched, 
and the population explosion and its warnings are passed by — strange for an 
economist. To Barbara Ward Christian history and future are an exciting open- 
ended drama ; Christianity in this catastrophic age should not forget that it is a 
religion of both judgment and hope. Karl Marx spoke with power and 
launched a universal Communist movement because the Christian Church had 
lost its prophetic vision. Enough material here for a long series of discussions ! 


The sweeping statements, awesome judgments and evangelistic fervor do not 
leave too clear an impression, but we are moved by Lady Jackson's wide-ranging 
knowledge, as well as her Christian anger and compassion. 

(2) Christianity has been introduced to the non-Western world in recent 
centuries largely through the agency of what are described, and often criticized, 
as "foreign missions". Over 100,000 Western missionaries (Protestant and 
Roman Catholic) are at work in the developing nations. What is their role in 
social revolution? The question is treated in a brilliant essay by David N. 
Stowe, former missionary in China and now Secretary for Overseas Ministries 
of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A. With well-organized material and 
in clear, graceful style, he depicts the strong and weak points of the modern 
missionary movement. Undoubtedly missions have been the forerunners of 
revolutionary change and transmitters of Western civilization. Imperialism and 
colonialism, so bitterly denounced today, did actually serve as a sort of 
"umbrella" for new concepts and practices that have benefited underprivileged 
peoples. Now the situation is very different. Colonialism is disappearing. 
Missionary influence on society in general is declining, the image of the 
"Christian West" has been tarnished, and the "foreign missionary movement" 
faces all sorts of new barriers and handicaps. The radicalism and xenophobia in 
many political revolutions present grave dilemmas and challenges to the Church. 
Yet the writer sees a continuing opportunity for the Christian mission if it can 
find common goals with the better revolutionists and express deep and sincere 
concern for those at the bottom of the economic and social ladder. 

Stowe's section on "specific Christian contributions to changing societies" is 
full of fresh and stimulating ideas such as "cross-cultural interpretation of 
Christianity," "the mode of indirectness" through ecumenical forms of action, 
radical indigenization of Christian faith and order, and more adventurous use of 
lay service in both older and younger churches. Above all Dr. Stowe sees the 
imperative need for strong Christian witness, through individual, transformed 
lives, and through the unique "Christian congregation" as a leavening force in 
changing society. In another paper he might show us how the witness and 
influence of dedicated minority groups can become more effective in the turmoil 
of our time and indicate more clearly what he means by "the revolution beyond 
all earthly revolutions." How is this related to the better life here and now that 
societies in revolution are demanding? 

(3-4) Rising Africa is represented in the symposium by two able educators, 
Nicholas O. Anim of Ghana and Mariga T. Wangombe of Kenya. They speak 
as true Christians and also as ardent patriots who rejoice in the freedom that 
has been won by many African nations and who believe in the future of the 
African continent and community if it can reveal a distinct "African personality". 
We can sympathize with their anger and sorrow over the wrongs inflicted on 
Africans in the past and their impatience over the obstacles to rapid social 
and political progress today. 

(5) The Latin American situation was presented at the Duke Conference by 
Richard Shaull, well-known for his penetrating book, Encounter ztnth Revolution, 
who views the social revolution as a "struggle for humanization". No reforms 
so far have greatly touched the basic problem of land ownership and economic, 
political structures that favor the upper classes. Landowners, 10 per cent of the 
population, still own 90 per cent of the land. Marxism makes a wide appeal, 
especially to the young generation, because of its thoroughgoing revolutionary 
philosophy that responds to the contemporary rebellious mood and awakens a 
feverish intensity of commitment. There are also contradictory trends, toward 
both democratic and authoritarian leadership. The whole social pattern in 
Latin America provides a tremendous challenge to the dominant Roman 
Catholic faith and to the smaller but rapidly growing Protestant Church. 


What makes Shaull's paper outstanding is his use of two new and striking 
religious movements as windows through which to view Christianity's participa- 
tion in radical revolution. The first window is the effort of the Jesuits in Chile, 
who are closely connected with the Christian Democratic Party in that country, 
to place the Church on the side of revolution through a program of basic social 
reforms and espousal of a new Christian style of life. They find a "historical 
coincidence" between the Communist movement and the Christian revolutionary 
movement. Dr. Shaull is skeptical, however, about possibilities of a "united 
front" although personal encounters between Christians and Communists should 
prove fruitful. The second window is the Student Christian Movement in 
Brazil, which is stimulating much Biblical and theological debate among 
Christian youth and which is sending many students into difficult and painful 
identification with dehumanized sectors of the population. "Thus the heart of the 
Christian-Marxist dialogue becomes the concern for what is happening to man at 
every moment, the attention to new threats of dehumanization in society as well 
as sensitivity to the possibilities of humanization present at every moment 
because of the work of Christ." Dr. Shaull contributes an incisive analysis and 
evaluation of these two unusual movements and his essay is worthy of most 
careful reading. 

(6) Three addresses at the Duke Consultation dealt specifically with Ameri- 
can and Christian responses to the world-wide revolution. John Scott Everton — 
American Friends Service Committee overseas, three years in Burma as Ford 
Foundation representative, then U.S. Ambassador to Burma, and now serving 
in the Education and World Affairs Foundation — is well qualified to discuss the 
crucial place of education in developing nations. American involvement has 
been relatively small ; out of fifty billion dollars invested abroad since the end 
of the Marshall Plan only three per cent has been for technical aid, including 
education. The fifty-two new nations need help in their educational programs 
which undergird all social reconstruction. The cost of free universal education 
on the elementary school level alone is almost prohibitive for many societies. 
The training of top leadership in all fields for these new nations is now of 
paramount importance. Mr. Everton points to the increasing study of world 
affairs in American colleges and universities, the Peace Corps, and the growing 
number of foreign students in the United States (probably 100,000 by the year 
1970), as avenues through which world-minded Americans and Christians may 
respond to educational needs abroad. The fine work of United Nations and 
private agencies and of the major foundations in the field of education abroad is 
also mentioned, but no reference is made to the more than three hundred 
mission and church colleges and universities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

(7) An adequate sense of community, said Byron L. Johnson in his address, 
should be our great gift to the developing world. Mr. Johnson has had a 
varied and rich experience as international development specialist, member of 
Congress, and now university professor of economics. How can prosperity be 
shared ? he asks. How can a real community be built within nations and among 
nations, from which both poor and rich will benefit? Many organizations, public 
and private, are at work on this problem. Professor Johnson's special contribu- 
tion is the ideal of regional cooperation and federations especially for trade and 
economic development. He cites the Philadelphia Treaty of 1789, better known 
as the Constitution of the U.S.A., as a model in this respect. It was a regional 
federation, with single communications and monetary systems, common external 
defense and removal of all internal barriers. The appeal for this kind of regional 
cooperation can be made on grounds of both common interest and self interest. 
The groundwork is essentially a religious task, helping peoples to know one 
another and assist one another in practical ways. 

(8) Chosen to present the final paper in the series was Paul R. Abrecht of 


the World Council of Churches. The theme is serious and urgent, how 
Christians in both the developed and developing nations can think and work 
together in response to the surging revolution of our time. The speaker is not 
afraid to state the difficulties, perplexities and dilemmas that lie ahead on this 
road. Many Americans, for example, cannot really appreciate the magnitude and 
complexity of social problems in the rising new nations. Relationships between 
the so-called older and younger churches are rapidly changing, though the 
dependence of the latter has not, as Paul Abrecht claims, been entirely removed. 
Will Eastern Christians accept a Western philosophy for their nation-building 
or insist upon formulating their own guiding principles? How can we help one 
another? These are but one or two of the many questions propounded by Dr. 
Abrecht, few of which can be fully or satisfactorily answered. The main focus 
in the coming philosophical and ethical debate should be, the paper says, a 
Christian interpretation of revolution and a new concept of Christian action. 

The danger in such a discussion is that sweeping generalizations and 
visionary proposals by arm-chair theorists may take the place of trenchant 
thinking and practical measures born of bold experiment and hard-won experi- 
ence. Fortunately, the director of the World Council's ecumenical study projects 
gives concreteness and vitality to his essay by quotations from Christians in 
Indonesia, Nigeria, Cuba, Tanganyika, the Kampala Assembly in Africa, the 
East Asia Christian Conference in Kuala Lumpur, and the Vatican (Pope John 
XXIII). And the author ends his fine paper on a strong note from his 
own deep conviction, commending the role of the World Council of Churches and 
expressing the hope that it may be able to transcend its western origin, and 
speak with truth and power to all of our revolutionary world. The whole book 
can be summarized in the admonition to look for God's purpose in social 
revolution and to find in the midst of it opportunities for Christian witness 
and action. The reviewer adds his prayer that the transformation of persons 
through the Gospel of Jesus Christ will not be overlooked in the emphasis 
on social transformation. The "Christian presence" — to use a rather new and 
suggestive phrase — is needed in the midst of all the regions and dimensions and 
upheavals of our twentieth-century world. 

(9) The symposium closes fittingly with a brave and prophetic sermon by the 
Rev. Samuel D. Proctor, Baptist minister who has been active in many kinds 
of overseas service projects in all parts of the world, and on the staff of the 
National Council of Churches. The topic of his message is "The Wrong Time 
To Be Silent." (Luke 19:40). 

An excellent short Reading List adds to the value of this book for private 
and group study. 

— Frank Wilson Price 
Director Emeritus, Missionary Research Library 
Former Moderator, Presbyterian Church in the U.S. 


The Justice of God in the Teaching of 
Jesus. J. Arthur Baird. West- 
minster. 1963. 283 pp. $6.50. 

Dr. Baird sets out to correct the pre- 
vailing tendency of popular piety to 
construe the Love of God as a benevo- 
lent celestial "softness". A worthy 
undertaking, it would seem ! Comfort- 
able Christians as most of us are, we 
do need to learn again and again that 
the Divine Love is never flabby, but 
searching, challenging, demanding. 
"With mercy and with judgment my 
web of time be wove." 

Any attempt therefore to focus our 
attention on the concept of God as 
Justice both in the Old Testament and 
the proclamation of Jesus merits ap- 

Since Baird's principal aim is to 
examine the teaching of Jesus on God's 
Justice, he is committed initially to 
dealing with the agonizing problem 
of the historical Jesus. Against the 
tide of modern skepticism about re- 
covering the actual words or deeds of 
Jesus, he argues on general grounds 
for a position of cautious optimism. 

In the ensuing treatment of Jesus' 
sayings, there are many good things : a 
detailed exposition of the parable of 
the unforgiving servant (Matt. 18:23- 
35) and of the wicked husbandmen 
(Mark 12:1-12) ; an incisive discussion 
of the present and futuristic elements 
in Jesus' eschatological mesage (al- 
though I cannot share his confidence 
in the arguments he adduces for taking 
entos hum-In in Luke 17:21 to mean 
that the Kingdom of God is "within 
you" in the inward spiritual sense) ; 
a presentation of the Cross and Resur- 
rection as an enacted parable of God's 
Justice in Jesus. 

If, throughout, Baird is content with 
his earlier generalizing conclusions 
about the historical reliability of the 
Jesus tradition in the Gospels, and 
rather uncritically accepted the authen- 
ticity of hotly disputed "Son of 
Man" sayings, for example, or Jesus' 
predictions of his Resurrection (Luke 
17:24-25; 22:18, 29; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 

10:33-34), we should not cavil too 
much. We would rather err on his 
side than on the side of skepticism. 

The palpable weakness of Baird's 
work is the method he employs for 
investigating Jesus' teaching. His book 
is in effect a "word-study" of God, 
Father, Spirit, Power, Krisis, etc. 
Some familiarity with the writings of 
Professor James Barr on The Seman- 
tics of Biblical Language and Biblical 
Words for Time would have given 
Baird great pause about trying to read 
off from the incidence of such words as 
kairos and chronos a particular "phi- 
losophy of time" on Jesus' part. And 
can we deduce from Jesus' various 
usages of such words as Earth and 
Heaven and Spirit his own unique 
cosmology, as distinguished from the 
popular cosmology of his day (Baird 
thinks of Jesus' special cosmology as 
an integral part of his notion of God's 
Judgment in the affairs of men) ? 

To be sure it is the "word-study" 
character of Baird's book that leaves 
us with the (I think, unfortunate) im- 
pression that Jesus was a brilliant 
theologian, infinitely skilled in describ- 
ing the various facets of his concept of 
God. But should we picture Jesus as 
the purveyor of the concept of God 
rather than as the one in whose very 
words God draws near to men both 
in Judgment and in Love (Born- 
kamm) ? 

One other criticism ! Baird makes a 
great deal of the fact that, because we 
are fettered still to Newtonian physics 
and have not learned to accept Ein- 
steinian relativity, we have lost touch 
with the prophetic idea that earth 
stands under the judgment of heaven, 
and are excluded from due under- 
standing of the more than three- 
dimensional cosmology of Jesus. Is 
that really why we shy away from the 
Justice of God ? Is it merely the ob- 
tuseness of one reader that makes him 
wonder what relevance this has to an 
explication of the teaching of Jesus 
in his own time and against his own 
background ? 


Stirred by the title, the reviewer was 
left somewhat disappointed and dis- 
satisfied with the book itself. 

— Hugh Anderson 

The Central Message of the New 
Testament. Joachim Jeremias. Scrib- 
ner's. 1965. 95 pp. $2.95. 

This book consists of a series of 
popular lectures by Professor Jere- 
mias, the distinguished Gottingen New 
Testament scholar and Semitic phi- 
lologist, delivered on a recent tour in 
the United States. (He spoke at the 
Divinity School on October 20, 1965, 
on "Some Characteristics of Jesus' 
Way of Speaking".) 

In Chapter 1, Jeremias treats the 
use of "Abba" ("Father") by Jesus 
and the earliest Christians. He deals 
first with the Old Testament back- 
ground, in which the use of "Father" 
with respect to God is said to be rare 
but significant, and then turns briefly 
to the somewhat more frequent use 
of the term in Palestinian Judaism. 
This is followed by a more extensive 
treatment of what is said to be Jesus' 
distinctive practice of addressing God 
as "Abba," a familiar form which 
does not occur in Jewish prayers. 
After discussing the Fatherhood of 
God in the Gospels and the use of 
Abba, Father, in the Lord's Prayer 
and the prayers of Christians in 
general, Jeremias concludes by assert- 
ing the untenability of the position of 
those who deny the theological rele- 
vance of the historical Jesus. 

Chapter 2 deals with the sacrificial 
death of Jesus in Hebrews, I Peter, 
Paul, the primitive church, and the 
thought of the historical Jesus himself. 
Jeremias argues that Jesus did in fact 
foresee his own death and interpreted 
it to his disciples, using the suffering 
servant motif of Isaiah 53. 

Justification by faith is the sub- 
ject of Chapter 3. On the basis of the 
Old Testament background Jeremias 
declares : "As in the Pauline letters 
dikaiosyne (tou) theou must be 
translated, 'God's salvation', so 

dikaiousthai must be rendered 'to find 
God's grace'." (p. 55) In the sub- 
sequent discussion, justification is 
interpreted as one description of the 
bestowal of God's grace at baptism. 
Contrary to some current opinion, the 
background of Paul's doctrine is not to 
be found in the Qumran community 
and literature, but in Jesus' own 

The final chapter is an exposition of 
the prologue of the Gospel of John, in 
which Jeremias takes up the proposal, 
put forward by Bultmann and many 
others before and since, that John used 
an earlier hymn in compoisng his 
gospel. Unlike Bultmann, however, 
Jeremias does not believe that this 
logos-hymn was earlier applied to John 
the Baptist by some of his followers. 
This is in line with his rejection of 
Bultmann's proposed Gnostic back- 
ground for the hymn. According to 
Jeremias the affinity of John with the 
Qumran scrolls is much closer and 
more relevant. 

In a popular book such as this 
Jeremias could scarcely be expected to 
establish his conclusions with the kind 
of thoroughness that is characteristic 
of his scholarly work. Nevertheless, 
it is necessary to at least indicate a 
couple of points where questions might 
be raised. For example, while I am in 
complete sympathy with Jeremias' 
desire to assert the continuity between 
Jesus and the church's faith, I doubt 
that so sweeping a positive conclusion 
(cf. pp. 29 f.) is justifiable on the basis 
of the use of the term Abba. We are 
indeed taken behind the church's 
kerygma by this term, as Jeremias as- 
serts, but no one really denies that 
elements of genuine tradition of Jesus 
were taken up in the church's tradition. 
The question about Jesus is much more 
complex theologically than Jeremias 
here allows. 

In seeming to reject (pp. 58f.) the 
position of Wrede and Schweitzer that 
justification does not stand at the 
center of Pauline theology, Jeremias 
asserts that both earlier scholars erred 
in not asking how justification is 


bestowed. Justification is bestowed by- 
God in baptism, says Jeremias. From 
this point on, however, he appears to be 
saying that baptism is really the center 
of Paul's theology and that justifica- 
tion (as with Wrede and Schweitzer 1) 
is a subsidiary factor. "The connection 
of justification with baptism is so ob- 
vious to Paul that he feels no necessity 
to state in so many words that it is in 
baptism that God saves him who be- 
lieves in Jesus." (p. 59) Bultmann's 
contention that for Paul man is 
justified only as an ungodly person, 
and that in himself he does not cease to 
be ungodly, is rejected. Jeremias points 
out that even Bultmann admits that 
Paul never explicitly says this. Yet 
neither does Paul make the explicit 
claim for baptism that Jeremias sets 
forth, nor does he say explicitly or 
inferentially that "the Eucharist re- 
news God's grace given in baptism for 
which justification is but one of many 
descriptions." (p. 65) The argument 
from silence is at least as dangerous 
in the one place as in the other ! The 
question is not whether Paul regarded 
baptism and the Lord's Supper as es- 
sential. Certainly he at least assumed 
them as a matter of course without 
considering the possibility of an non- 
sacramental Christianity. Rather the 
question is whether what we have come 
to regard as sacraments (the term 
does not occur in Paul) occupied the 
central position in Paul's understand- 
ing of Christian salvation, as Jeremias 
seems to think. 

Finally, the contention that Paul 
was the faithful interpreter of Jesus 
(p. 70) is certainly an exaggeration, 
as Jeremias' attempt to trace the 
doctrine of justification to Jesus shows. 
Jeremias' paralleling of such sayings as 
Jesus' "Let the dead bury their dead" 
with Paul's "He who is justified by 
faith will have life", (p. 70) as if they 
were really related, is indicative of the 
difficulty he has in establishing his case. 
The title, The Central Message of 
the Nczv Testament promises more 
than the book delivers, but the blurb 
on the dust-jacket indicates that Pro- 

fessor Jeremias would have preferred 
the more accurate title "Four Chapters 
in New Testament Theology". As 
such it is a rewarding and stimulating 
little book. 

— D. Moody Smith 

Charles Wesley: The First Methodist. 
Frederick C. Gill. Abingdon. 1965. 
239 pp. $5. 

Charles Wesley has long been ob- 
scured by his older brother, John, but 
Mr. Gill has made a noteworthy at- 
tempt to show his importance in his 
own right. The choice of title is a part 
of this approach : John Wesley may 
have been the best-known Methodist, 
but brother Charles was the first, both 
in organizing the Holy Club at Oxford 
and in undergoing the heart-warming 
experience which brought the Meth- 
odist movement to a focal point in 
dynamic evangelism. Charles had the 
artistic temperament, and this led not 
only to a wonderful harvest of hymns 
and sacred poems, but to enthusiastic 
abandon in enduring hardship for the 
sake of the Gospel, and to exuberant 
preaching very different from John's 
calm discourses, even though John 
included his brother's "Awake, thou 
that sleepest !" in the standard sermons 
illustrating Methodist doctrinal em- 

The author does not minimize the 
work of John Wesley, however, but 
points out how in the varied activities 
of Methodism they complemented each 
other : "Nothing could be further from 
the truth than that Charles Wesley was 
a pale shadow of his brother or that 
he stands in the background of his 
brother's work. . . . He, no less than 
John, established Methodism. Their 
work was indivisible. John organized ; 
Charles provided the impulse John 
was the head ; Charles was the heart." 
We can object that this statement is 
both exaggerated and over-simplified. 
Sometimes, however, as probably in 
this instance, exaggeration and over- 
simplification are necessary in order to 


bring about the correction of long- 
continued errors of judgment. 

The author writes with verve and 
charm, as well as with erudition, as we 
should expect from his former volumes. 
He incorporates many little-known 
facts and representative anecdotes into 
a fast-moving narrative, so that a 
genuine portrait emerges. Unfortu- 
nately the merit of speed in the narra- 
tive is occasionally offset by over- 
hasty assumptions. Among several 
demonstrable errors in minor details is 
the statement on page 19 that "only 
ten of Susanna's nineteen children sur- 
vived to maturity, though at one time 
there were at least thirteen alive 
together." Nine children died in 
infancy, and there were never more 
than ten alive at once. On the follow- 
ing page Mr. Gill claims that "the 
youngest, Molly, married her father's 
curate", whereas in fact Molly was the 
seventh child. Mr. Gill, an undoubted 
authority on the literary work of the 
Wesleys, is also strangely careless in 
furnishing representative titles of their 
hymn-pamphlets, and of the three he 
lists on page 207 only one is correctly 
described. Similarly on page 209 he 
badly misquotes John Wesley's char- 
acterization of his brother's hymns. 

Mr. Gill did not set out to produce a 
definitive biography of Charles Wesley, 
which would need to be at least twice 
as large as this volume. He has suc- 
ceeded, however, in writing a charm- 
ing work for the general reader which 
offers much also to the scholar. This 
attractively produced volume is un- 
doubtedly the best biography of 
Charles Wesley at present available, 
and one whose reading by those who 
would know more of early Methodism 
should be regarded not only as a duty 
but as a pleasure. — Frank Baker. 

Where We Are in Church Union. 

Edited by George L. Hunt and Paul 

A. Crow, Jr. Association Press. 

1965. 126 pp. 50^ pb. 
A Church for These Times. Ronald E. 

Osborn. Abingdon. 1965. 192 pp. 

$1.95 pb. 

Christ's Church: Evangelical, Catholic, 
and Reformed. Bela Vassady. Eerd- 
mans. 1965. 173 pp. $1.95 pb. 

Running far behind Vatican Council 
II but far ahead of the rest of the 
ecumenical pack in the publication race 
is the Blake-Pike Proposal, officially 
organized as the Consultation on 
Church Union. In four years of formal 
discussion this plan for the merger of 
six major Protestant groups in 
America has already had its share of 
ups and downs. From the apparently 
critical blow dealt by Methodist 
spokesmen in 1964 the negotiations 
came through more hopefully in 1965, 
but there are bound to be innumerable 
pitfalls ahead. 

Each of these three paperback 
volumes attempts to bridge one of the 
most serious chasms in the Church : 
that between top-level conversations and 
grass-roots understanding. They are 
on very different levels in themselves. 
The Reflection Book edited by Hunt 
and Crow calls itself "a report on the 
present accomplishments of the Consul- 
tation on Church Union". In brief, 
elementary form it achieves this pur- 
pose admirably and should be widely 
used in local church discussion groups. 
By explaining simply and clearly the 
basis of current talks and such "emerg- 
ing issues" as Scripture and tradition, 
the ministry and sacraments, it offers 
a useful basis for further study. It 
even includes an outline for six discus- 
sion sessions, with stimulating ques- 
tions for the ecumenical "beginner". 

Osborn's book stands on middle 
ground, a very effective analysis of 
the historical and contemporary im- 
plications of Eugene Carson Blake's 
phrase "truly evangelical, truly re- 
formed, truly catholic" (the first term 
reputedly inserted at the suggestion of 
Methodists). The Dean and Profes- 
sor of Church History at Christian 
Theological Seminary (Disciples of 
Christ, Indianapolis), long a partici- 
pant in the Faith and Order Move- 
ment, says frankly this is "not a sys- 
tematic commentary on Blake's 


sermon, nor a formal apologetic for a 
particular scheme of union". He does, 
however, begin and end with the con- 
victions that "only by ending the folly 
and sin of meaningless division will the 
church in America find strength equal 
to her task," and that this goal can 
only be approached when local congre- 
gations reach an understanding "of 
what it means to belong to the uni- 
versal Christian fellowship". 

At its particular level of purpose and 
effort, Christ's Church: Evangelical, 
Catholic, and Reformed by Bela Vas- 
sady of Lancaster Theological Semi- 
nary appears to this reader the least 
successful. As a far more profound 
analysis than the others of what these 
terms and their theological implica- 
tion really mean, it provides some very 
astute observations and some provoca- 
tive insights into ecumenical issues. 
But on the whole it suffers from three 
basic faults : It is at points too com- 
plex, too theologically abstruse, for 
most lay Christians. It reproduces the 
orthodox or traditional views of 
Christianity with such an obvious at- 
tempt to include everyone and offend 
no one that every position comes out 
"both-and". Finally, it resorts to an 
alliterative "typology" that becomes 
more ridiculous than helpful ; e.g. in 
"The Christ-Controlled Church" 
Christ constitutes, we commune; 
Christ convokes, we congregate ; 
Christ confirms (convicts, comforts, 
counsels), we conform; by control, 
continuity, concern, contrition and 
commitment we enter into the fullness, 
freedom, finality and faithfulness of 
Christ ! 

Whether you aim to sharpen your 
own theological teeth (or set them on 
edge) or to engage your parishioners 
in clearer understanding of ecumeni- 
cal issues, pastors will find in the next 
few years that "he is loco and/or 
cuckoo who is not abreast of COCU". 
Here are three introductions ; there 
will be more to come. 

— Creighton Lacy 

The Other Side of the Coin. Alfred 
M. Lilienthal. Devin-Adair. 1965. 
xii, 420 pp. $6.50. 

The subtitle of this book is "An 
American Perspective of the Arab- 
Israeli Conflict". Thus, the title means 
that Americans know almost exclu- 
sively the Israeli side of the conflict, 
and the author wishes to show that the 
Arabs have a case, indeed a very good 
case. The word "American" in the 
subtitle implies that American interests 
have been jeopardized by this lopsided, 
pro-Israeli view and that a truly pro- 
American view requires a more ob- 
jective regard for all factors in the 
conflict, including a recognition of the 
rights and claims of the Arabs. Lack 
of such recognition, with consequent 
loss of American prestige among the 
Arab nations and other nations friendly 
to the Arabs, has done great harm to 
the national interests of the U. S. A., 
says the author, who backs up his 
claim with good argument and good 

Alfred Lilienthal is peculiarly fitted 
to write this book. As a Jew, loyal to 
the highest insights and values of his 
religion, he is a living proof that Juda- 
ism and political Zionism are not 
identical and ought not to be confused 
with one another ; and that truly 
American Jews, or Americans of 
Jewish faith, put the interests of 
America first, regardless of any other 
nation. As a graduate of Cornell Uni- 
versity and the Columbia University 
Law School, Lilienthal has the educa- 
tional equipment needful for an under- 
standing of this and other intricate 
problems. More importantly, however, 
he has already proved his ability to 
write cogently and lucidly on the sub- 
ject in hand. His book, What Price 
Israel? (1953), is a classic in the field 
and a hardheaded antidote to the senti- 
mental notion that the founding of 
Israel was a victory for righteousness 
and humanitarianism. More recently 
his volume There Goes the Middle 
East has shown what a great victory 
for Communism has resulted from 


America's pro-Israel policies. The 
present volume brings the story up to 
date and adds a final chapter setting 
forth the author's ideas of how to work 
toward a settlement of the conflict in 
the Holy Land which still goes on 
even though other conflicts, such as 
that in Viet Nam, temporarily snatch 
the headlines. 

Ministers in the parishes, and 
faculty and students in theological 
schools, all have a deep interest in the 
Holy Land and what goes on there. 
Many of us wish to visit the land and 
its holy places, while some of us, like 
the reviewer, are called upon to under- 
take archaeological research there. We 
need information on what has happened 
in Palestine, and why. If an injustice 
has been done, we want to know about 
it. If there is another side of the coin, 
we want to see it. Nearly all American 
communications media are under the 
control or the influence of the Zionists. 
Thus the service rendered by Lilien- 
thal's books is all the greater. 

Before concluding, the reviewer feels 
compelled to mention another book of 
similar import that appeared shortly 
after the one here under review : The 
Decadence of Judaism in Our Time 
by Moshe Menuhin, the father of 
Yehudi Menuhin, the famous violinist 
(Exposition Press, 1965, $6). Mr. 
Menuhin is a former Zionist who broke 
with that movement because of the ob- 
vious damage which it was doing to 
the highest principles of the Jewish 
religion. Lilienthal's book is more on 
the political side, while Menuhin's has 
more religious overtones. Lilienthal is 
more the hard-headed political scien- 
tist, Menuhin more the sensitive 
mystic, but both come out to the same 
place : Arabs are human beings, with 
the same rights and privileges as other 
human beings ; what has been taken 
from them should be restored; when 
this is done, Arabs and Jews can re- 
sume their ancient friendship and live 
in peace together, resisting both West- 
ern imperialism and Communist ag- 
gression. — W. F. Stinespring 

Peace, the Churches, and the Bomb. 
Contributors : John J. Wright, Theo- 
dore R. Weber, Walter Stein, Wil- 
liam V. O'Brien, Justus George 
Lawler. Council on Religion and 
International Affairs. 1965. 103 pp. 

The most recent publication of the 
Council on Religion and International 
Affairs, an organization which devotes 
its attention specifically to that 
infinitely complex arena where ethics 
and international politics meet, is this 
brief volume of essays. The pamphlet 
is devoted to a discussion, from the 
Christian viewpoint, of some of the 
problems posed by nuclear weapons, 
especially the possibility of a moral 
nuclear deterrent. 

The unifying factor in the collection 
is the statement on nuclear arms intro- 
duced at the third session of the 
Vatican Council in the fall of 1964 
(Article 25 from Schema XIII). This 
preliminary statement will be the basis 
for a fuller discussion by the present 
Council session and the subsequent 
issuance of an official document on the 
subject. Any statement by the Council 
on nuclear weapons will be of im- 
portance far beyond the bounds of the 
Roman communion. Therefore these 
essays, to the extent that they are 
given consideration by Council partic- 
ipants, should be of concern to all men. 

After an introductory essay by the 
Roman Catholic Bishop of Pittsburgh, 
John J. Wright, the book is arranged 
in three parts: (1) four essays by 
Theodore Weber, Walter Stein, Wil- 
liam V. O'Brien, and Justus George 
Lawler, each commenting upon the 
schema and using it as a springboard 
for the presentation of his own views 
on the morality of nuclear deterrence 
and related ethical questions ; (2) a 
lengthy critique of these essays by 
Paul Ramsey, in his usual somewhat 
convoluted prose, in which he shows 
keen insights into the problem and a 
penchant for verbose irrelevancy in 
about equal measure; (3) replies to 
Ramsey by the four essayists refining 


their positions to some extent but 
mostly refuting Ramsey's critical re- 
marks and defending their original 

While Ramsey is probably the best 
informed among the authors on the 
technicalities of nuclear strategy, his 
very expertise seems at times to get in 
his way. He is determined, further- 
more, that the Council address itself 
only to the moral issue in moral terms, 
leaving the technical questions to the 
military and scientific experts. Yet 
he so narrowly defines this area, and 
so broadly defines the area in which 
only these experts have competence, 
that any Council statement would have 
to be virtually devoid of meaningful 
content to meet with his approval. Can 
the ethical and technical aspects of the 
problem really be so compartmen- 
talized? O'Brien, Director of the 
Institute of World Polity at George- 
town, seems more nearly correct in 
criticizing the schema for not dealing 
with a clearly identifiable category of 
phenomena and situations. 

In addition, Ramsey gets so involved 
in some of his "tortuous olympian 
exegesis" of the original essays that he 
becomes at times both irrelevant and 
self-contradictory. On what is perhaps 
the chief point of contention in the 
whole volume, the question of whether 
there can be any such thing as a 
moral nuclear deterrent, Ramsey at- 
tempts to distinguish between "a threat 
of something disproportionate" and "a 
disproportionate threat". The former 
is permissible, he believes, especially 
when a further distinction is made 
between a nation's declared and real 
intentions regarding the use of nuclear 
weapons. Yet he can at the same time 
acknowledge that "in the nation-state 
system one can deter war only by 
postures which, when war comes, tend 
to drive war on to military actions 
that are in fact disproportionate." 

Stein, philosopher from the University 
of Leeds, does a good job of showing 
the absurdity of attempting publicly to 
maintain a nuclear deterrent while 
secretly having no intention of using it. 

The four essays in the first section 
accomplish their purpose of raising 
relevant questions concerning the 
Council schema. If the schema meant 
to condemn all nuclear weapons as 
inherently disproportionate (this is 
unclear in the Council statement it- 
self), the essay by Weber of Candler 
School of Theology should be given 
primary consideration by the Council. 
He points to the additional ethical 
questions with which such a "nuclear 
pacifist" position must come to grips. 
In other essays the Council will find 
itself criticized for not going far 
enough in condemning "the Deterrence 
State" (Stein) and warned against 
pronouncing on subjects beyond its 
competence (Ramsey, O'Brien). All 
four essays can be of value in guiding 
the Council toward a pronouncement 
which will be taken seriously by a 
world in need of some sensible guide- 
lines for avoiding nuclear war. The 
latter portion of the book loses a good 
deal of its value as a result of the 
writers' attempts to score debating 
points. Though the writers have some 
widely divergent views on nuclear 
morality (e.g. Lawler of St. Xavier 
College, Chicago, declares himself a 
"nuclear pacifist"), they seem to be 
agreed that the most imperative task 
of the Vatican Council in this area is 
to face up to the morality of nuclear 
deterrence here and now, not some 
future nuclear war. 

— Allan M. Parrent 
Graduate Student in Religion 
Assistant Coordinator of Student 

Former Staff Member, Arms Control